103-Year-Old Resident Shares History with Community

Harbour Manor resident Bea Hanson

Earlier this year, Harbour Manor’s Director of Residential Marketing Hannah Carroll was particularly grateful to witness the once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse alongside one of the senior living community’s longtime residents, Bernice “Bea” Hanson. At the extraordinary age of 103, Hannah thought Bea had seen it all — both World Wars, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement, the moon landing … and that’s just half her life!

“I just think it’s amazing that she’s experienced all of those things,” Hannah said.

Bea’s focus, however, remains on the new memories she gets to make thanks to Hannah and Harbour Manor.

“I always enjoy it when Hannah comes through that door of mine,” Bea said. “Every time she does, I know she’s going to make my day.”

Over the four years Bea has lived at Harbour Manor, she and Hannah have become family.

“She’s like my grandma,” Hannah said. “I check on her every day.”

Hannah knows Bea’s life story like the back of her hand. She knows about Bea’s grandmother making dresses out of burlap sacks during the Great Depression, and how Bea helped her grandparents run their grocery store by loading “huckster wagons” for deliveries. She talks about Bea’s early school experience with awe since it included all eight grades in one room together — and a high-school graduating class of just 40 students. Hannah also knows about Bea’s history of working with the Nielsen TV ratings company as well as Kroger, along with the wonderful son she raised, Shirl.

Harbour Manor Residential Marketing Director Hannah Carroll (right) and her surrogate grandma Bea (left)

But Bea is just as interested in Hannah’s life, thus living up to Hannah’s image of her as a surrogate grandmother.

“She checks in with me every day about what’s going on in my life,” Hannah said. “Bea tells me to never settle for anything because she wants the absolute best for me. She’s a good one.”

While Hannah thinks of Bea as her grandma, Bea thinks of Hannah as her “guardian angel.” Thanks to Hannah’s daily visits, Bea was able to get quick medical attention in the event of a heart attack earlier this year. They were both thankful to be “in the right place at the right time.”

In addition to Hannah, Bea has another surrogate granddaughter named Lisa, who often visits the community, takes her shopping and calls her every night after she gets off work.

“From the staff members to the residents and their loved ones, we’re all very close here,” Hannah said. “Everyone checks on each other, and we have very personal relationships. We’re like one big family.”