June 19, 2010

BELGIUM: Is it really an advantage to be a Supercentenarian?

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LOS ANGELES, California / Gerontology Research Group / June 19, 2010

He is the world's 15th Oldest Man Living Today: On June 18, 2010 the doyen of Belgium's aged was 109 years and 231 days old

Joannes (Jan) Goossenaert, born October 30, 1900, celebrated his 109th birthday at the Sint-Michael Retirement Home in Essen, Belgium on October 30, 2009.  He still goes down the stairs, noted LA NOUVELLE GAZETTE.

On June 18, in a communique to Dr. L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group, a researcher from Belgium  Peter Vermaelen commented:

" I am not sure if I should tell this, but I will. Because I think it is important for us, that we sometimes stand still at the disadvantages of being a Supercentenarian. Recently I feel too many of us are cheering when someone reaches age 110+, but in reality the sun is not always shining!

I can confirm Jan Goossenaerts is still alive at age 109 days 231 days. But he is not doing so well. Do not get me wrong. His health is fine, but his daughter sadly passed away earlier this month at age 78 and that his eldest son's health is currently declining rapidly. This takes a very heavy toll on Jan's health status and his energy is fading quickly. Let us pray for his oldest son to recover, because the worst thing that can happen to a father, is watching his own children slip away from him. For Jan (and for most of us that are a father), his children are everything to him!

I know that when we post messages about a potential Supercentenarian still being alive, we are usually smiling and we are very happy about this. But I am not too sure right now, we should be happy now. Sometimes you can just live TOO long and I can understand Jan prayed earlier this week, to please take his life first instead of that of his children.

I wish Jan good luck and I will burn a candle for his well being and that of his family.

Peter Vermaelen

Dr. Stephen Coles commented:

One should never live exclusively though one's children (or parents or grandchildren or even spouse). All relatives are ephemeral, given that our bodies are frail and vulnerable to infections, unpredictable chronic illness, and accidents; anyone can be "hit by a truck." The reasons for staying alive are manifold. One should always "rage, rage against the passing of the light." [1] -- Steve Coles