Gertrude Luria turned 100 years old last Saturday.
The centenarian’s daughter, Juanita Hollar, said plans were set to celebrate the milestone with a drive-by parade from friends and family, “so she can watch from the safety of front porch, because of the coronavirus,” she said. “But she’ll enjoy seeing everyone even from a distance.”
At 81, Hollar and her 82-year-old husband Gary are her mother’s primary caregivers in their home, a decision that Juanita believes has kept her mother alive and thriving.
“It’s the elderly caring for the elderly, and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
Hollar and her husband of 61 years have been caring for Luria for the past nine years in their Marietta home. He’s a retired credit manager; she was an elementary school teacher for almost 20 years.
“I was an only child, so there really wasn’t any decision to be made. I knew we would be caring for Momma in her later years. I was an only child and she was a single mother for many years. Momma was a real outdoor girl. She worked during World War II and helped to make airplanes for the military as a ‘Rosie the Riveter.’ Now it’s my turn to care for her,” she said.
Hollar said Luria took care of her mother and a half-sister in West Virginia, and lived in her house for 54 years before moving to Georgia.
“She did fine as long as her younger sister was living with her. And then one day we got a call while we were in church. Her sister passed away in her sleep. We left immediately for West Virginia to bring her home with us. That was nine years ago,” Hollar said.
When the couple retired, they purposely didn’t downsize their home, she said. “We knew we would be caring for Momma or her sister — or even both of them — when it became necessary,” she said. “One way or another, we would be caregivers. When Momma was younger, she would always say, ‘Please don’t put me in a nursing home.’ I promised her she would always have a home with us. I guess being a caregiver is in our DNA,” Hollar said.
Her mother spends much of her day watching hummingbirds that flock to feeders on their wood deck. Cooking for her mother is easy, she said. “She has a good appetite. She eats a full breakfast every morning, and she loves jalapeno peppers and sauerkraut and chili dogs for dinner,” she joked.