Woman celebrates 100th birthday

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, August 23, 2018

Carrie Yates sat in her wheelchair at the kitchen table as her daughter, Tunisia Hill, tried to get her to remember her kids’ names.

Hill prompted her with the first letter of her name and waited. It took a while, but eventually, Yates was able to remember all her children’s names: Pete Hall, her oldest son; Connie Holland, her younger daughter; and Hill, the middle child.

Hill had all the patience in the world for her mother as she was getting ready for her 100th birthday party. Yates was born Aug. 24, 1918.

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“There are days that she comes and goes, but when she is in sound mind she really understands. But in the present, she doesn’t really remember much,” Hill said as she smiled at her mother.

Yates, a lifelong Suffolk resident, was diagnosed with dementia almost a decade ago, and since then Hill has been her mother’s full-time caregiver.

Despite being diagnosed with dementia, Yates has managed to live a long and happy life.

“Time is going by so fast,” Yates said when her daughter reminded her of how old she was going to be on Friday.

Her life for the last 100 years has been filled with love and compassion, and even as she continues to age she manages to be just as kind and caring to everyone that walks in her home.

“She’s kind and giving, that’s just how she is. If the neighbors ever needed anything they got it. She’s always been that way,” Hill said.

Hill remembers her mother always cooking and inviting others to come and eat. Being a caregiver to her family, friends and neighbors was something Yates enjoyed doing.

“My mother would fix food and whoever comes into the house was invited to join. One time I came home and she had made three fruit cakes, and she just gave them away,” Hill said. “She was quite a mother and a wife.”

Yates’ husband, George, passed away in 1982, and since then she has continued to thrive.

“Even after my dad passed, she didn’t give up,” Hill said.

After 100 years in the world, Yates still believes in the power of kindness and compassion for everyone.

“With the way things are going, when someone is being nice to you it is better to show them love,” Yates said.