106-year-old Lizzy’s tip for a long life: Fresh air, good food, and an 11am cup of coffee

There have been numerous studies conducted into the possible health merits of coffee, but 106-year-old Elizabeth Dempsey might just be the living proof.

106-year-old Lizzy’s tip for a long life: Fresh air, good food, and an 11am cup of coffee

Lizzy, as she is better known, was among 40 centenarian nursing home residents who yesterday received special commemorative certificates from Nursing Homes Ireland to mark them being 100 years of age or older.

Lizzy celebrated her 106th birthday just last week, on June 23, in the company of relatives and friends in Ailesbury Nursing Home in Sandymount, Dublin.

She indulged in a glass of sherry and some strawberry sponge cake.

However, the coffee bean received special mention when she received her certificate yesterday from Minister for Older People Helen McEntee.

Asked the secret of her longevity, Lizzy said: “Plenty of fresh air, good food, and an 11am coffee to set me up for the day.”

The redoubtable Dubliner was born not too far away from her current abode on St Mary’s Rd, Ballsbridge on June 23, 1910.

Elizabeth Dempsey, 106, on the secret of her longevity: ‘Plenty of fresh air, good food, and an 11am coffee to set me up for the day.’

Elizabeth Dempsey, 106, on the secret of her longevity: ‘Plenty of fresh air, good food, and an 11am coffee to set me up for the day.’

The eldest of four children, at 16 years of age, Lizzy attended a commercial school and after studying for two years went to work at Cartan O’Meara & Kieran Solicitors. She worked her way up to head of department and remained with the firm until she retired at 75 years of age — 31 years ago.

In what could be words to live by, Lizzy said: “I’ve had a very even existence and got the balance right in my life. I try not to stress and worry unduly. I worked nice and quietly in an enjoyable job and have lived a calm life.”

Lizzy, who never married, shared a room at Ailesbury with her sister Margaret between 2004 and 2006, and still has strong memories of 1916.

She recalls a young girl, the daughter of a solicitor, moving about near a window on Mespil Rd wearing a green cardigan that attracted a soldier and who was shot dead. “The gunmen were everywhere and all too ready to shoot,” she said.

Minister for Older People Helen McEntee presented Lizzy with a certificate.

Minister for Older People Helen McEntee presented Lizzy with a certificate.

As part of its Nursing Homes Week celebrations, Nursing Homes Ireland is presenting residents aged 100 and over with their certificates in what is a year of commemoration.

The certs feature a copy of the 1916 Proclamation, a commendation for reaching 100, and the following quote from Pádraig Pearse: “There are in every generation those who make it with joy and laughter and these are the salt of the generations.”

Let’s skip the salt — pass the coffee.

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