Age is a reward for kindness, says Manawatū’s oldest resident as she turns 108

Aileen Kars turned 108 on Zoom, but niece Carroll Vaughan and her friends Jan and Ken Cook were able to come in person.

SINEAD GILL / Tips

Aileen Kars turned 108 on Zoom, but niece Carroll Vaughan and her friends Jan and Ken Cook were able to come in person.

New Zealand’s third oldest person attributes her health and happiness to her kindness, although old age in the 21st century has not been without pitfalls, she said.

Aileen Kars, born and raised in Manawatū, turned 108 on Sunday September 12. Although she admitted that her life was more difficult now, “I am grateful for everything I have.”

Right now, age was just a number. When told that she was the third oldest person in New Zealand since the death of WWII veteran Ron Hermanns in early September, she replied “definitely not” and agreed to the decision. news with a certain level of ambivalence.

“I had a good life … you have to have a good nature [to live this long]. I always got along well with others. My mom was amazing, she said ‘do to other people what you want us to do to you’, ”she said. “You take out what you put on. “

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Aileen Kars with her extended family, who is reportedly pictured on her 90th birthday.

Jan Cook / Tips

Aileen Kars with her extended family, who is reportedly pictured on her 90th birthday.

Having a lot of loved ones was another secret. Kar’s husband Les has died after 54 years of marriage, but their inheritance included two sons, 11 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. However, limited mobility and a global pandemic made it difficult to maintain relationships.

Due to Alert Level 2 and travel restrictions, most of her family celebrated her milestone birthday through a video call.

A close friend, Jan Cook, 78, who lives in a nearby retirement village, has been given special permission to be with Kars in person on his birthday.

Being hard of hearing, she relied on Cook to relay what family members said via video.

Aileen Kars aged 29 with her son Russell Kars, now in his eighties, in 1942.

Jan Cook / Tips

Aileen Kars aged 29 with her son Russell Kars, now in his eighties, in 1942.

“It’s wonderful that she can talk to them, but she doesn’t understand what a video call is, she’s not used to that kind of technology. She thinks she’s talking to a photo, ”Cook said.

Cook met Kars seven years ago and was instantly charmed.

“She was raised on a farm, milking cows… she shears sheep… but she was also an excellent ballroom dancer. It is full of surprises, ”she said.

Kars’ niece, Carroll Vaughan, 76, attended the anniversary in person and agreed her aunt had always been a “bold personality … a great sense of humor.”

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