Sask. 'super seniors' share secret to their success

Ted and Mel Turner, 89, credit healthy living and an active social life as the keys to a long life.

'I think that as I mature, I can get better at a lot of things,' says 89-year-old Ted Turner

Ted and Mel Turner credit their good health to diet, physical activity and an active social life. (Sheila Coles/CBC)

As the oldest of the baby boomers turn 70, CBC looks at the changes ahead as this group enters its golden years. This series asks if we are ready for the challenges ahead. 

Nearly every morning after a walk or some simple exercises, Ted Turner picks up the newspaper and shares it with his wife, Mel.

She does the crossword and he works on the jumble word search.

Don't be afraid to give of yourself and of your time. You've probably got more wisdom than you realize.- Ted Turner

"We don't let up until we have them solved. That starts our mental cells," said Ted. 

At 89 years old, the couple credits their long, healthy life together to three simple things: diet, physical activity and an active social life. 

Ted and Mel Turner are considered super seniors. It's an elite group of people who have lived to age 85 with relatively few health problems. 

When it comes to diet, the couple says they've always eaten well. "Mel would qualify for a degree in nutrition,' said Ted.

"She dragged me into some places I didn't want to go. Generous salads when I would have preferred meat, lean meat when I would have preferred fat."

Ted still plays golf and Mel keeps her mind and body active by volunteering.  

"You get a nice a feeling that you're helping someone," Mel said. 
The couple enjoy walking at least 4 to 5 times per week in the park behind their home. (Sheila Coles/CBC)

Turning 90 is no big deal

Mel isn't concerned about what the next decade holds. For her, 90 is just a number. 

"As long as I feel healthy and we can stay in our home," she said. 

It's only when her family reminds her that she can't do something that she thinks about her age.

Ted is still writing. A few years ago he wrote a book on the Wheat Pool called Beyond the Farm Gate. He's now working on another project about the agriculture building at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Ted's advice is simple for those looking to live a long and happy life.

"Don't be afraid to give of yourself and of your time. You've probably got more wisdom than you realize," he said. "Help others. Be good neighbours."

-with files from The Morning Edition