Woman, 108, ‘Would Keep Going Forever’

Nobody can tell Jennie Faires that life isn’t worth living at age 108.

She loves her retirement home, her family and the people around her.

Although she can’t see anymore, she staves off boredom each morning by pulling up the memories of a day in her life.

Last Friday, that day was a summer evening at her Nebraska home at age 9--back in 1898.


“I love life,” she said. “I would keep going forever if I could.”

Until somebody comes forward with proof they were born before Aug. 18, 1889, Faires can claim the unofficial title of the county’s oldest person.

But with the population of people 85 and older exploding, measuring age in three digits might not be that unusual in the near future.

“Healthier lifestyles and medical advances are letting us grow older,” said Jessie Jones, director of the Lifespan Wellness Clinic at Cal State Fullerton.

Studies predict that the 85-and-older age group will increase by about 131% from 1990 to 2020.

Care for the elderly in Orange County is generally good, but as in many other parts of the country, the county is suffering from a lack of good assisted-care homes, Jones said.

“There is a tremendous demand for facilities,” she said. “The better ones have long waiting lists.”

Faires said that her assisted-care home, Town Country Manor Retirement and Health Care Center in Santa Ana, has made a difference in her longevity.


“They take very good care of me, and I don’t have to worry about that,” said Faires, who moved into the complex when it opened in 1975. “I think that’s added some years to my life.”