What makes Irene Neuberger suitable to appear on “Villagers in the News?” Very simply, Irene is one of the few people on our planet who has been here for 100 years. February 15 is her birthday, a milestone to many of us, but one that Irene really doesn’t think about too much. She takes life on a day-by-day basis, and judging by our conversation, seems to enjoy each and every one of them.
Born in 1921 in Berlin, Germany, she very much wanted to leave Germany after the war and had heard about the United States, its lifestyle and opportunities. So with the help of an aunt in Scarsdale, NY, Irene was able to come to America in 1953 and, ultimately, become a US citizen. Not too long after her arrival, she began to work in the office of a family business in New York City.
It was in New York City where she met her husband, who had had to leave Germany during the war years. They settled in New York for many years, but as the couple aged, they began looking for a place to live that was welcoming to older people, such as those over 55 years of age.
While on vacation, they met a couple who sent them information about a place called Heritage Village. They looked, they talked, they decided, and they moved into Heritage Village about 30 years ago. Irene loves it here.
Irene keeps physically fit by walking every day for 40 minutes, albeit using a cane, but she’s out there! She’s not an athletic person, but growing up with two brothers kept her very active. She also uses a device at home, originally bought for her husband (now deceased), where she moves her legs while sitting and this improves circulation.
In regard to diet, Irene enjoys three meals a day and has aides helping her with shopping and cooking. She likes toast, rolls, cereal, vegetables, soup, fish, and definitely prefers foods without preservatives.
Irene’s mind is sharp! She reads the New York Times from cover to cover every day with the help of a device called a video magnifier that provides additional magnification and illumination: it makes newspaper print appear larger and therefore easy to read. She also reads her mail with this device. Irene is very aware and interested in world events and politics.
I asked what advice she might give to young people. “It’s important to be a ‘down-to-earth’ person and ‘live a normal life.’ Don’t think of yourself as more special than anyone else and try to do the best that you can do.”
Irene is a pleasure to talk with; she’s very unassuming, knows exactly what she wants to say, and is extremely likeable. This is a woman who, at the age of 100, has got it all together! Congrats, Irene, on your big birthday!