By John Lynds
Frances Resnick is a ball of energy. She’s sharp as a tack, spunky and full of stories.
Resnick loves to meet new people, and to have conversations, and later this month she will turn 100-years-old, on July 29 to be exact.
“These are my golden years,” she says with a chuckle. “My husband (Barney) has been gone a good long time, but I’m blessed.”
When Resnick was born, Woodrow Wilson was President, the U.S. had entered WWI against Germany and the first “Red Scare” was underway.
Resnick has outlived most of her more famous contemporaries that were born in 1917, like Joe DiMaggio, Ella Fitzgerald, and President John F. Kennedy, but owes her good health to staying active and the doctors and staff at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s Winthrop facility.
“My children moved me down to the first floor,” she said. “I was becoming a hostage up there and couldn’t do the stairs.”
Resnick only recently stopped living on the second floor of her 80 Cross St. home in Winthrop and was still making daily trips up and down the stairs well into her late 90s.
“I like it better down here,” she said. “I can be part of what’s going on.”
As a longtime EBNHC patient, she’s seen a lot of things change and a lot of doctors come and go. In fact she might have outlived some of her former caregivers.
“I’m very talkative,” Resnick says about meeting new doctors and nurses. “I like people so I know right a way if the doctor is for me or not. But for the most part everyone I have met or had at EBNHC so far I’ve bonded right away.”
While approaching 100 is a miraculous feat, Resnick owes it to a combination of staying active and a little luck.
“Knock on wood I’ve never spent a night in the hospital except to have my three children,” she said. “But as you get older, you have to change your way of living. I accept change more easily now, more than most seniors. I learn a lot from the doctors and staff at EBNHC. I feel like I learn something new each time I go there.”
For Resnick, waking up every day with purpose and moving around and engaging life and people has kept her going all these years.
“I think the staff at the Health Center really extends themselves in a way other medical facilities don’t,” said Resnick’s daughter Karyl. “At a lot of other places, medicine is like a business and they are trying to get you in and out. At the Health Center it’s not like that. It’s a very welcoming environment.”
Karyl Resnick explained the Health Center has been like a life preserver for the family from communication to supportive care to the fact the staff of doctors and nurses have become like extended family members because they care of Resnick’s health and well being.
“She’s not just a name or a number, she’s a person,” said Karyl.
In the end, Resnick’s son Howard said aside from the care from the Health Center it’s his mother’s personality that keeps her alive.
“You don’t get to be 100 unless you are strong, feisty, and have a sense of humor,” he said.