What Does It Take To Live To 100? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/29/07-Grand Saline

What Does It Take To Live To 100?

More people than ever are now celebrating one of the biggest milestones of all -- turning 100 years old.

Today, it's estimated 80,000 Americans are 100 or better, but that number is doubling every decade.

So, how do you live to be a century old?  

Vivian McMakin has seen a century.  She was born when Teddy Roosevelt was president, saw travel go from the covered wagon to the Model T and beyond.

She celebrated her 100th birthday on Oct. 19.

"It never dawned on me that I would live to be this [age].  I never even gave it a thought," Vivian said.

For her, it hasn't been an easy life on the farm, or in the Morton Salt factory in Grand Saline, where she worked for several decades.

A life of hard work was fine with her.

"My father always said that hard work never killed anybody," she said.

Her son, Hal, says it's about knowing right and wrong, too.

"[She] never smoked a cigarette, never has taken a drink, and never said a nasty word," Hal McMakin said at his home Monday, where he takes care of his mother.

Doctor Kent Davis, a geriatrician with the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler says a big part of living to 100 is just loving life, and making the right choices.

"It's a matter of doing what we know to do. It's what our mother told us to do, but we don't usually do," Dr. Davis said.

At the same time, there must be a desire to get to a century, and having people to share one's life.

"Interacting with people, giving yourself a reason for living [is important].

The party for Vivian last week was full of those she loves in the place she calls home.

"All my friends [are with me.] I have got lots of friends," she says.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting mpalmer@kltv.com

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