While golden years for many seniors can mean slowing down, retirement homes and, in some cases, isolation. Del Mar Community Connections participant Goldie Toth is having none of it.
Toth, who will celebrate her 100th birthday on March 30, still lives in the home she and her late husband purchased in 1970, goes to water aerobics three mornings a week, and remains very active in her church.
"I always have some place to go," Toth said.
These days it's a little more difficult to get around since Toth stopped driving just two years ago. But there is always a friend willing to help.
"You don't just have to sit in your house, that would be foolish," she said.
Toth, who participates in the telephone assurance program that the Del Mar Community Connections recently took over from Meals on Wheels, was presented with a birthday cake at the nonprofit's monthly Coffee Talk on March 9, which featured a presentation on macular degeneration.
A major cause of blindness in the elderly, Toth has a less severe case that makes it difficult to read. If it weren't for that, she said she would have learned how to use a computer so she could e-mail her three children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Born on March 30, 1909, in Monessen, Penn., she was the middle child with two brothers and two sisters. Her father worked in the Pittsburg Steel Mills, and there wasn't enough money for a car, but no bother, it just meant they walked everywhere.
After high school, Toth attended California Normal School (in Pennsylvania) where she trained to become a teacher. She taught for five years, but was forced out of her job when she married - those were rules during the Great Depression.
She worked as a substitute and went back full time for 10 years after her children were grown. She and her husband moved to San Diego for retirement. Shortly after their golden anniversary, he passed away from a stroke in 1987.
"It's been rough," she said, but at the encouragement of her children, she began doing water aerobics and traveled.
"I've had a full life, enjoyed everything, traveled all over," she said. "I'm not sorry for anything except my husband's gone."
While her family and church are throwing a big party at the end of the month for her centennial, Toth said reaching such a major milestone "doesn't make any difference to me, it's just another day."
Still, reaching 100 in such good health is to be applauded. What's Toth's secret?
Eat fruits and veggies at every meal, stay away from sugary drinks and stay active: "I used to go for a walk every morning for 20 years."
Telephone Assurance Program
Del Mar Community Connections offers a free service for Del Mar residents, usually elderly or disabled persons who live alone, to call the house once a day to make sure they are OK. If no one answers at the designated time, DMCC staff will go to the house to check on the client.
To enroll, call (858) 792-7565.