100-Year-Old Woman Who Still Works Shares Tips For A Healthy Life

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At 100 years old, Miriam Todd works more hours than many people a fraction of her age. She’s in her office at her family’s furniture store six days a week, for at least 50 hours total.

The job involves bookkeeping, helping customers and making sure things run smoothly at the Stratford, New Jersey, business her parents founded in 1929.

“I can’t say I’m working when I enjoy what I’m doing, so I feel guilty if I say I’m working,” Todd, a great-great grandmother, tells TODAY.com.

“It’s not for everybody, but it works well for me. My mother was the same way. In fact, she died here in the office, sitting here doing her work. She was past 80 and she died sitting at her desk. So I said if that’s God’s will for my life, so be it.”

Born on June 11, 1924, Todd says she has no plans to retire. She runs the store with her son and grandchildren.

She began working at Nehlig’s Furniture — founded by her mother and father, Philip and Ethyl Nehlig — for a few years in the 1940s before she got married. Then, she was a stay-at-home mother until 1975.

She’s been back on the job ever since, but understands many people can’t wait to retire in their 60s or earlier.

“If that’s what they enjoy,” Todd says. “My husband was forced to retire because of his health, and he enjoyed every minute of it. He loved it. I would not be happy being at home full time.”

Todd was married for 51 years before her husband passed away in 1995.

Todd still drives a car, does all the grocery shopping and cooks everything from scratch. She’s been living with her son for the past two years.

Her longevity habits

The centenarian says she’s blessed with good health and hasn’t had to deal with major diseases such as cancer or heart disease.

Other than visiting an eye specialist for macular degeneration, she hasn’t had to see a doctor in three years, she adds.

Todd and her family shared the habits that have helped her live a long life:

She eats a healthy diet

Todd’s granddaughter credits her nutritious diet for her longevity.

When Todd was in her early 90s, a doctor credited genetics for Todd’s long life, Christy Todd-Hoffman recalls to TODAY.com.

“And I said, ‘That’s not true.’ Because if you abuse your body with drugs, alcohol or smoking, you wouldn’t live this long life. She eats a very good diet.”

Todd doesn’t eat fried foods or fast food, and she generally avoids alcohol.

The big focus is on fresh produce. “Her plate is always multi-colored,” Todd-Hoffman says. “She’s very conscientious about getting her fruits and vegetables.”

She also likes dark chocolate, which has benefits for the mind and body.

All her food is fresh and prepared at home

Todd loves to cook. And many of the ingredients she cooks with come from her garden, where she grows tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini.

She buys other fresh vegetables at the supermarket. The only canned produce she uses is sauerkraut — a favorite served with pork.

“I try and eat right, sleep right and live right,” Todd says.

Miriam Todd.
“I cook everything from scratch. I do not like any kind of prepared foods,” Todd says.Courtesy Christy Todd-Hoffman

She has an active lifestyle

Todd likes to swim in the family pool and work in the yard. Her job also means she’s active all day, walking up and down stairs, between offices or working in the furniture store showroom if she’s needed there.

Miriam Todd.
Todd enjoys the family pool.Courtesy Christy Todd-Hoffman

She maintains a positive outlook

Todd considers herself “very optimistic,” a trait linked to longevity.

But she feels for young people and the challenges they face today, noting that life is “very hard now.” Her advice to them is to save their money.

“If I could get them to be thinking more about saving instead of spending with a credit card,” she says.

“I don’t like credit card debt… I don’t own a credit card.”

When it comes to her own life, she considers herself blessed and expresses gratitude to everyone who celebrated her 100th birthday in a big way, including a customer who brought a chocolate cake decorated with tiny furniture on top in her honor.

“It’s overwhelming. I just can’t believe all this love that I have felt from everybody,” Todd says.

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