Elsie Leipst celebrated her 100th birthday with a cake and morning tea at JH Mason Retirement Village on Friday 22 January. Elsie has been a village resident for forty-one years and still lives independently in her own unit.
Elsie was born on 12 January 1921, when George V was head of state and William Massey was the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The first scheduled air mail service in New Zealand commenced two weeks after Elsie was born, and the first radio broadcast in New Zealand was made ten months later.
She makes being a centenarian look easy. “When you’ve nursed as long as I have, you know how to keep going,” she laughs. Elsie trained to be a nurse in 1939.
When asked for longevity tips, she recommends keeping active – getting up and moving around during the day at least every half an hour. She also believes drinking two pints of milk every week have made a difference.
“I’m a great believer in the power of milk.”
She says she is very grateful to have lived as long as she has.
“When I was a child, I had nephritis. My parents were told not to expect to take me home from hospital; there was no cure for the condition in those days.” Her life was saved by regular blood transfusions, an experimental treatment at the time.
Presbyterian Support East Coast operates two retirement villages, JH Mason Retirement Village in Havelock North and Sheilton Village in Wairoa. Both villages offer accommodation for older adults who can live independently.