Record centenarian numbers in county

By our count, we have a record number of Dutchess County older adults celebrating birthdays of 100 years or more this year, as well as a record number of married couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of 70 years or more. As of early April, 20 centenarians and 10 70-year couples are being honored in the Office for the Aging’s (OFA) summer newsletter.

If you know of a Dutchess County resident who is reaching either one (or both!) of these milestones at any time in 2022, please get in touch with OFA Outreach Coordinator Brian Jones at 845-486-2544 or Publication deadline is Tuesday, May 10.

The oldest living Dutchess County resident in our most recent records is 108, but we’ve had at least three reach the supercentenarian milestone of 110 years. It’s an unprecedented indication that Dutchess County’s older adults are living not only longer but are also able to maintain their independence for longer, often well into a second century of life.

What’s their secret? It’s hard to say. We’ve asked more than 100 centenarians this question over the years, and their explanations run the gamut from 20 minutes a day on an exercise bike, to having a strong faith, to enjoying nine golden raisins soaked in gin at bedtime.

We looked into whether there was any science behind that last theory, and did find that some studies have indicated possible links to the anti-inflammatory properties of the juniper berries typically used to make gin, as well as the sulfur compounds used to preserve golden raisins. We don’t know of any studies specifically examining gin-soaked raisins.

The explanation that appeals most to us came from Mary Summa, a remarkable Dover resident who lived to 106 and passed away earlier this year. A few years ago, Mary told us “I don’t know why I’m still here, but I’m going to stick around until I find out!”

OFA newsletter renamed

After fielding dozens of readers’ suggestions, we’ve settled on a new title for the former Spotlight on Seniors newsletter. The summer OFA newsletter that’ll be published just after Memorial Day will be entitled THRIVE60+, to represents the 60+ community OFA serves; “thrive” encompasses in one word what older adults can achieve as they age.

Golden Living is prepared by Dutchess County OFA Director Todd N. Tancredi; reach him at 845-486-2555, or online at

Editor’s note: We believe the secret to a long, healthy life is reading The Millerton News each week!

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