Is it attitude, genes, or just good living that keeps Jay Buchanan still dancing at 97 years of age?
As a long-time member of the Abbotsford Social Activity Association (ASAA), Jay finds herself among friends twice a week for several hours of line dancing.
She can put dancers 30 years her younger to shame.
Jay was born in Calgary in 1919, and her family came to Vancouver when she was five.
Life in the Great Depression was difficult but never kept her down. After she married in 1952, she spent her time looking after her husband and three kids but still found time to volunteer with the CNIB, where she learned Braille and translated textbooks.
When her husband decided to retire 40 years ago and buy a 16-by-20-foot small one-bedroom house on a lake in Hatzic, she was a bit uncertain but game.
His work in the steel foundry in Vancouver made him a jack of all trades and together at age 66 and 65, they were not afraid to take on the challenge.
Over the next 15 years and before his death, the house doubled in size and a wharf was built to accommodate a boat.
To Jay, age is just a number and she continues to be very independent.
She drives herself everywhere, does all her own cleaning, still cans pears and peaches, and cooks for her family at weekly dinners.
She takes only one medication for blood pressure, eats what she wants, and limits alcohol and TV, but does not limit her activities or family involvement.
She boasts five children who are all mostly seniors now, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
How does she account for her longevity?
“It’s simple – never sit too long, get dancing, and eat dark chocolate and ginger,” she says.
In the heart of Abbotsford, ASAA offers programs for seniors and can be rented for all ages. Visit abbysocialactivityassoc.com for a printable schedule.