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Our Super Centenarian Catherina van der Linden is 111 and Still Going Strong

Catherina van der Linden in the gym

Mrs van der Linden lives in our West Beach Residential Care home and celebrated her birthday on Saturday, 26 August.

She credits her outstanding longevity to her active lifestyle, which still includes twice weekly gym sessions and regular walks.

Staff support Mrs van der Linden with a tailored exercise program delivered in the on-site Health and Wellness Centre, keeping her fit and healthy so she can continue to enjoy life.

“I push myself sometimes when I’m getting a bit tired and I think it’s about time to do something to yourself to see that you still have that energy that you had before,” Mrs van der Linden said.

“I still go on the bike, sometimes for 10 minutes and that is a long time to spend on the bike.”

Her oldest daughter, Mariella Hocking, said, “She really does like exercising and she likes walking - I’m really pleased about it, I’m really chuffed that she still likes to do that.”

Mariella said her mother also has a ‘can do’ attitude which has had a great influence on her longevity.  

“Mum was always a person who would say, ‘yes we can do that or at least we can try to do it, we’ll find a way’. A classic example is the opening of the exit doors at West Beach Residential, which are quite heavy. Mum opens those herself to go outside. 

“Mum has a very positive approach to life and a belief in herself…she has never been defeatist.”

Although Mrs van der Linden had an aunt who lived to 110, Mariella said all her other brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles lived only to their 60s and early 70s

“There’s a freaky gene there somewhere in the family I think,” she said.

West Beach Residential Care Manager, Catherine Willoughby, added that Mrs van der Linden is a role model of healthy ageing for all the home’s staff and residents.

“Catherina is an inspiration to all of us, she’s still doing regular walks around the facility, opens the doors and around she goes, we’ve actually got a couple of other new residents that have started doing the same routine,” Catherine said.

“She loves the gym, she goes to the gym two or three times a week.

“I think it’s amazing that she’s 111 and the fact that she’s still so mobile and still very much alert and oriented to what’s happening around her."

Catherina Turns 111 at West Beach Residential Care

Our West Beach team was thrilled to host Mrs van der Linden's family for a joyous birthday party, a special occasion to create lasting memories. 

To add to the celebrations, Mrs van der Linden has received birthday greetings from none other than the Prime Minister and the Premier of South Australia themselves!

Prime Minister's message:

Prime Minister's message.mp4

Premier of South Australia's message:

Premier of South Australia's message.mp4

Born in the Netherlands in 1912, Mrs van der Linden migrated to Australia with her husband and young family in 1955 and went on to work in full-time paid employment.

She held a wide variety of jobs, including grape picker, nursing assistant, typist and clerical assistant, and had an interest in fashion and dressmaking inherited from her mother and father - a seamstress and a tailor.

Nowadays, Mrs van der Linden enjoys socialising with family, friends and fellow residents in between gym sessions and her regular walks.

“With my family I like to sit together and have a meal, a very simple meal together, that’s always very nice in a family atmosphere,” she said.

With four children, 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, Mrs van der Linden’s birthday celebrations were full of wonderful moments with her family and her friends at West Beach.

Her advice for a long life is, “Be happy with yourself and be content with what life gives you, sometimes it’s not very good and sometimes it’s better but you have to take the bad with the good as well and it’s possible to make living a joy.”

And of course, “keep moving, don’t sit still”.