For Chicago resident Helen Baldwin, turning 100 was a time of merriment.
“I thank the Lord for all the good things he gives us,” she said. “We thank him. We’ll go around there, and we’ll help other people. Thank you, Lord, for all the wonderful things you give us.”
The morning of July 5 marked a milestone for Baldwin as she sought to celebrate her birthday with a number of friends and staff at The Seniors Club, an adult day care center in Tinley Park.
For one day only, the facility was decorated for the occasion with red, white and blue streamers and balloons. Guests were seated at tables topped with ornate centerpieces and were met by party favors and games to enjoy.
Helen said seeing the way her friends come together to celebrate her birthday means everything to her.
“That [is] wonderful,” she said.
To kickoff the festivities, those in attendance took part in chair exercises to the sounds of music.
The Rev. Jerry Gunderson went on to lead guests in prayer and followed with a sermon.
Helen echoed the sentiments Gunderson shared about the Lord and praised Him for all He has done to help her live a long, happy life.
“He loves us,” she said. “He loves me.”
After turning 100, Helen remains largely able aside from use of a walker and some difficulty hearing.
“I’m doing OK,” Helen said.
Helen’s daughter-in-law, Linda, went on to agree, and said apart from mood swings, her mother-in-law continues to do well with the help of vitamins and a remarkably healthy diet.
Linda and her husband, Jonathon, take care of Helen when she is not spending time at The Seniors Club. They had a big celebration for Helen at their church the Sunday prior to her birthday.
Helen said she likes the effort put in by The Seniors Club to make her birthday special.
The Seniors Club staff brought out all Helen’s favorites to celebrate her birthday, including some of her artwork and poetry.
“Is that me at 100?” Helen asked, motioning toward a self portrait she had completed.
“That’s me when I was so beautiful,” Helen continued.
The Seniors Club manager Andrea Kirkton said she has known Helen for the last six years.
“She’s still just as vibrant as when I met her,” she said.
Kirkton said it’s clear that Helen was enjoying herself.
“She enjoys herself everyday—fun, loving [woman,]” she said.
Kirkton credits Helen’s son, Jonathon, for helping her to live a long, happy life.
“It could be her son, Jonathon,” she said. “He’s taken care of her for many, many years. Her husband died—I want to say—in 2010. Jonathon has been taking care of her for a while, and God. She loves her God. He’s been very good.”
Helen stays active at The Seniors Club by playing bingo, singing and having fun on a daily basis with her friends at the club.
“Like I said, she’s doing well and she’s upright,” Linda said. “She’s doing well because she goes to The Seniors Club, and she is around people. She always has something to do. I never would’ve thought she’d turn 100.”