Australia has bid farewell to its oldest person, Catherina van der Linden, whose indomitable spirit and commitment to an active lifestyle defined her 111 extraordinary years.
The vibrant centenarian, who remained dedicated to her fitness routine until her final days, leaves behind a legacy that challenged the norms of ageing.
In a heartfelt interview preceding her passing, van der Linden generously shared the keys to her longevity, emphasising the pivotal role of staying physically active.
A regimen of gym sessions two to three times a week and leisurely strolls formed the cornerstone of her fitness philosophy. Even her 10-minute sessions on the exercise bike were cherished as a testament to her enduring vitality.
“I push myself sometimes when I’m getting a bit tired and I think it’s about time to do something to yourself to see that you still have that energy that you had before,” she said at the time.
van der Linden was a resident of Southern Cross Care’s West Beach Residential Care Home in Adelaide where according to staff she was a positive influence on others.
West Beach Residential Care Manager, Catherine Willoughby, described her as an amazing model of healthy ageing and an inspiration to other residents at the home.
View this post on Instagram
The other ingredient in van der Linden’s recipe for a long and happy life was “to be happy with yourself and content with what life gives you”.
About finding joy she said, “Sometimes it’s not very good and sometimes it’s better but you have to take the bad with the good as well and it’s possible to make living a joy.”
Van der Linden had worked as a grape picker, nursing assistant, typist and clerical assistant but in her later years enjoyed spending time with family and getting together with her friends.
“With my family I like to sit together and have a meal, a very simple meal together, that’s always very nice in a family atmosphere,” she said.
She is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.