“Work hard and put your faith in God. He takes care of you.” That is the advice soon-to-be 101-year-old Elizabeth Nash Johnston of Hudson has for today’s young folks. “If I didn’t have faith in God,” she continues, “I don’t know where I’d be. I have really been blessed. I had a happy life growing up. I think that has a lot to do with your outlook on life. Hard work never hurt anybody.”
With a strong faith and a robust sense of humor, Mrs. Johnston aims to make every day of her life count. Other than some heart issues, she says “I started getting a little arthritis in my hands a couple of years ago.” Despite her physical ailments, though, it is keeping her mind sharp that occupies her thoughts, and she acknowledges that may be her secret to longevity.
“I don’t want my mind to be idle,” she said. “I do things to keep my mind active. I memorized the names of my high school graduating class … and things like that.”
Currently under the care of Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, Mrs. Johnston enjoys the regular home visits from her nurse, certified nursing assistant, medical social worker and chaplain. Together, they are all focused on making sure she is comfortable and enjoying every day, one day at a time. “I don’t know what I’d do without Caldwell Hospice. They’re so good,” she said. “I just love every one of them. I feel secure when they come in. I just welcome them.”
The Caldwell Hospice team shares those same sentiments about Mrs. Johnston and says that working with her enriches their days, too.
“We don’t always get the chance to get involved where we can get to know the person and their life, their history, so it has been a blessing to be involved with Elizabeth so long and get to know her,” said Karen Prather, RN, adding that the time together has also allowed Caldwell Hospice to enhance Mrs. Johnston’s quality of life through interventions such as symptom management and providing emotional and spiritual support to her. Prather calls her patient a friend and “a great historian.”
While she was raised in a more primitive time, Mrs. Johnston has embraced the newfangled inventions of the last century. “I’ve seen quite a few things that I think are amazing. On a riverboat trip in Wisconsin there were beautiful rock formations along the side. The Bahamas was also a very pretty place,” she says. “My first time on an airplane, there was a mechanical problem after takeoff. I didn’t have sense to be scared. We were flying to get on a boat for a cruise.”.........
She has a pillow a niece gave her at her 100th birthday party that pretty much sums up her outlook. It reads, “I’m not 100. I’m 18 with 82 years’ experience.” And in November, will be 83 years’ experience.
Mrs. Johnston now has another year’s experience—celebrating her 102nd birthday in 2018 with a coconut cake from her Caldwell Hospice care team!