At age 96, Patricia Segal lives alone in an airy Sydney apartment with views of the sea, ABC News reports. Time spent with her feels uplifting, invigorating, and when you ask for her secret Segal doesn’t hesitate: her positive and curious attitude is the key to her longevity, she says.
And although scientists don’t understand exactly why, research suggests she is correct.
As COVID-19 continues to expose the vulnerability of Australia’s elderly — and an inquiry laid bare abuse in aged care homes — Segal projects a dramatically different image of what it can mean to reach very old age.
She does not appear as a woman eyeballing 100. Segal looks years younger. Stylishly and carefully dressed, with her hair kept dark brown and cropped close, she radiates calm, upbeat confidence.
Our conversation roves across politics and sociology. The novel she’s currently reading rests on her coffee table — she’s regular a member of two local libraries. Her apartment is decorated with original artwork — the fruits of a painting hobby that she first took up aged 90-something.
“I just thought I’d try it. I walked into the art class one day, everybody said ‘hi!’, everybody was smiling. The teacher was fantastic and it’s just wonderful,” she explains. “Sometimes when I look at the paintings I think ‘did I really do that?'”
Researchers say Australians are entering an era in which remaining vital well into your 90s will be not just possible, but common. And your 80s may well deliver some of the best years of your life.
The average lifespan of an Australian woman is now about 85, packing on 25 additional years in a century, meaning one in two women will reach this age or beyond.
Patricia Segal is a healthy, active 96 year old and medical researchers want to know the secrets to her long life. (ABC News: Catherine Taylor)