Secret to living to 105? Everything in moderation

On Jan. 6, Edith Irwin, a resident of Brookdale, celebrated her 105th birthday with a party at that Wilton-based assisted living facility.

Along with TV news crews and newspaper reporters there to cover her impressive milestone, Irwin was joined by family members, friends, and fellow Brookdale residents and Brookdale staff.

“It’s so nice to have such a great crew of people here with me,” Irwin told The Bulletin during a break in the festivities. “To have a friendly group around you, like this one, is just wonderful.”

Before retiring, Irwin led a storied career as an elementary school teacher in Scotia. But a few years back, while living alone in the New York village, she fractured her hip.

She moved to Brookdale for some help, and judging by her words, it would seem that she’s just fine with that. “It’s a great establishment,” Irwin said of her Wilton home. “Everyone here is very friendly and helpful.”

With that, the woman of the hour resumed eating cake and chatting with guests. Her son-in-law Fred Sindel, however, was too busy entertaining to take a cake break. An accordion player for many years, he volunteered as a live musician and played and sang the party through.

Sindel’s wife, Carole, whom he has lived with in Wilton for the last four and a half decades, is Irwin’s only daughter. According to the staff, she goes to Brookdale at least once and often twice daily to visit and take care of her mother. “She’s like an unpaid volunteer here,” confirmed Sindel’s daughter, Lisa Breeland of Bethel.

Of her mother Carole Sindel said, “She’s always been such an inspiration, not only to her friends but to her family, for all that she’s been able to do and accomplish in all these years.

“She’s still playing cards; her interest is piqued by anything, really. She reads the papers; she does things that many younger people even can’t do, and she’s always interested in family functions and what her friends are doing.

“People ask, ‘What does she attribute her longevity to?’ and her motto was always, ‘Everything in moderation,’ regardless of what it was,” she said.