Arbor Terrace of Ponte Vedra celebrated a new centenarian last week, when the dedicated memory care community marked resident Bea Borrelli’s 100th birthday.
The New York native commemorated her birthday with a party thrown by her nieces, Sandra Steiner of Ponte Vedra and MaryAles Welbaum of North Carolina, who celebrated with their aunt and thanked Arbor Terrace for their care.
“It’s nice to be able to express thanks to everyone who has been good to Bea,” Steiner said. “And of course we’re glad to spend some time with her.”
Borrelli and her nieces attribute many things to reaching the milestone, including her faith.
“(Because of) God,” Borrelli said. “He’s been excellent to me. And (because I) live a clean life.”
Steiner and Welbaum said their aunt’s enthusiasm for gardening, participating in communion each Sunday and eating well also played a big part in her longevity.
The significance of her 100th birthday wasn’t lost on Borrelli, though she still feels younger at heart.
“(People) just don’t know how important it is,” she said. “I’m enjoying every bit of it … people say ‘You’re 100,’ but I don’t feel 100.”
According to Steiner, Borrelli was one of four children in her family. Though she never married or had children, Steiner said, Borrelli cared for her and her sister as if they were her own. Growing up in Brooklyn, the two remember subway rides and trips to the World's Fair with “Aunt Bea,” who worked her entire life at Citibank in Manhattan before retiring. Steiner said she wanted her aunt close by, and Borrelli became a resident in September 2015, shortly after the assisted living facility opened.
Borrelli’s nieces said they were not only grateful for their aunt’s long life, but for the opportunity to celebrate the life of the woman who has given them so much.
“She’s always taken care of us and looked after us,” said Steiner. “So we’re glad we get to do this for her.”