Daily News: Aging

105-Year-Old Woman Kicks Her Heels Up at Birthday Party

News & Advance (Lynchburg, VA)

07-03-13

July 03--Dora Hubbard walked past tables filled with family and friends Tuesday as she approached a yellow cake adorned in lilacs marking her 105th birthday.

She paused occasionally to shake her hips and shimmy her shoulders, trademark dance moves that brought smiles to everyone at the New Vine Baptist Church in Lynchburg, where Hubbard comes at least once a week through Central Virginia Area Agency on Aging.

"She's having herself a ball," said Hubbard's 77-year-old daughter, Jean Johnson.

Once seated with a piece of cake, Hubbard beamed at her loved ones gathered there.

"I think it was very, very nice," Hubbard said. "I'm just happy to see all of these friends."

Hubbard has lived in Virginia for most of her life. She moved in with Johnson in Lynchburg about three years ago after spending 12 years in Michigan with Johnson's older sister.

"My mom is a delightful person," Johnson said. "I've been her caregiver for the past few years, and she's such a joy. Even though she's 105, I don't have to do anything special."

Hubbard handles most tasks of daily living herself, including getting dressed each day, Johnson said. She only takes four pills in the morning, three of which are vitamins. While she does have glaucoma, her biggest struggle is with hearing, her daughter said.

"Her blood pressure, everything, is tip-top," she said.

So what's her secret to such a long life?

"The Lord was good to me," Hubbard said.

And her secret for happiness?

"When you get to be my age, you'll be so glad you'll be happy," she said.

She advises people to treat others properly, something she has practiced throughout her life.

"Just be nice to people," she said. "Be kind to people and they will be kind to you."

Hubbard is active at the center -- participating in field trips, exercises and puzzles -- and is known to break out in song and dance.

"She enjoys coming out here and the ladies just enjoy having her," Johnson said.

Around the center, Hubbard is known as "mama," something site manager Wanda Rosser began calling her when Hubbard first started coming three years ago after Johnson began volunteering there. Although the reasoning behind the nickname is forgotten -- Hubbard is not the oldest client there, another woman is 108 -- the name has stuck.

Hubbard has earned a reputation as the dancer of the group.

"She always has to shake her hips when she gets here and shake them when she leaves," Rosser said.

Hubbard said she loves dancing and all types of music.

"I used to always be going to dances," she said.

Last month, the seniors had a dance, and Hubbard was on the floor the entire time music played, dancing the night away with Rosser and leaving her cane behind, Johnson said.

"She can kick her heels way up," Johnson said.

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