December 31st, 2012

Grow old along with me: twins

Here are the oldest living identical twins in the world:

twins

Looking pretty good, aren’t they—for 103?

What’s more, they’re feeling pretty good. They both have all their mental faculties, which in itself is extraordinary. They do not use hearing aids or glasses. They each live independently, although both are recovering from recent falls. And from the looks of the photo, they both have a ton of hair for their age.

There are a few health divergences. One had ovarian cancer years ago and recovered. One appears (as best I can tell from the photo, anyway) to have a slightly different graying pattern, and although hair dye might be involved I don’t think it is because the hair looks gray rather than dyed.

As far as their lives go, these have been similar as well. They each had one child. They both outlived their husbands, and live in Florida. And they’re both pretty mum about the cause behind their longevity:

According to the Daily Mail, Primack credits genes and “never being fat” while her twin Eisgrou says it’s because she drank lots of milk.

“Everybody asks me that. I don’t know what it was,” Primack told ABC. “I didn’t watch my food when I was young. I smoked. We all smoked.”

Eisgrou added: “I don’t know the secret to a long life. And I wouldn’t tell you if I knew it.”

“We love each other and we always will,” Primack told ABC.

That last sentence may hold the key to at least some of it. Twins don’t always get along, but when they do the bond is like no other. As for the rest, I highly suspect genetics, although with identical twins both nature and nurture conspire to make them similar.

Oh, and as for the hair, this article from the time of the 100th birthday tells the tale (although the color looks somewhat different back then):

While they both used to dye their hair red, Primack let hers grow out to a natural gray when the dye began to bother her scalp.

But Eisgrou keeps the color on.

“I didn’t want to go all gray,” she said. “Everybody tells me ‘you look younger.’”

Is “everybody” right about that?

twins100

[NOtE: Here's the literary reference for the post's title.]

6 Responses to “Grow old along with me: twins”

  1. Steve Says:

    Neat. I think they are the oldest identical twins but not the oldest twins. The Daily Mail article says about them: “They are the second oldest twins in the world, born 39 days after non-identical twins Edith Ritchie and Evelyn Middleton from Aberdeenshire, in Scotland.”

  2. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Still clear minded, still able to live independently. How wonderful and how rare. So many reach 85+ only to be mentally out of it, physically out of it, or both.

    As one who has fewer years ahead than behind and encountering the gradual breakdown of both physical and mental abilities, I wonder what challenges and possible horrors may lie ahead. To be warehoused in a facility as an incontinent, drooling shell of myself seems a future most undesirable. To lie down one night in one’s own bed and peacefully depart this life is a fate much to be desired for an old codger. Unfortunately, we have little choice in the matter. An extremely healthy life style guarantees nothing. Beyond that, it is in God’s hands.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: thanks. Fixed!

  4. Oldflyer Says:

    Lovely.

    I have twin grandchildren, although they are fraternal (boy and girl). The bonding is certainly not as tight as we have seen in friends who were identical, but it seems to be there. (They got a pick up truck, which they will have to share, at Christmas. So, we will see what strains that imposes on the bond. Yes, the girl definitely wanted a truck.)

    On aging. There was a woman, in the home in which my mother-in-law lived, who made it to 105. You never saw her without an open book. She was deaf, and that may have been a partial reason that she hid in her books. The staff were diligent about walking her up and down the drive in good weather. On her 100th birthday she called her daughter and said: “Nancy, I have been walking for 100 years. I am not going to walk any more. Tell these people to leave me be.”

  5. parker Says:

    103 with good eyesight and hearing! May they have many more years of good health. And, may all here stay safe, sane, and prosper in 2013.

  6. Don Carlos Says:

    See, Neo, milk is good!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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