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109-Year-Old Man Shares Tips for Longevity



Quick Smiles:

  • Vincent Dransfield, a 109-year-old man from Little Falls, New Jersey, is a testament to the fact that healthy longevity is achievable, with a fit mind and body.
  • Dransfield credits his longevity to spending time doing what he loves, drinking milk, staying active, enjoying what he eats, fixing bad habits, and staying optimistic.
  • His love for the local volunteer fire department and drinking Ovaltine every day after breakfast are just a few things that have contributed to his long and fulfilling life.

Vincent Dransfield is a 109-year-old man who still lives independently in his own house in Little Falls, New Jersey, where he has resided since 1945. He has never had major diseases, like cancer or heart disease and requires no help navigating between the home’s main floor, his bedroom upstairs, and the basement where he does his laundry. Dransfield was funny and flirtatious when a reporter called and asked how he feels at 109.

“How do I feel? Let’s go out to a dance somewhere. How about that? That’s how I feel. I’ve been very, very, very lucky in my lifetime. I feel perfect,” Dransfield tells

While living to 100 years or longer isn’t rare anymore, it’s uncommon for men to live that long. Among centenarians, 85% are women and 15% are men, according to the New England Centenarian Study based at Boston University. However, Dransfield not only enjoys incredible longevity but also healthy longevity, with a fit mind and body.

Dransfield has one child, three grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. His wife of 54 years died in 1992. Many of his family members recently gathered at his home to celebrate his 109th birthday with pizza and carrot cake, his favorite.

Here are six tips for living a long and healthy life from Vincent Dransfield himself:

1. Spend time doing what you love

Dransfield spent more than 80 years serving as a member of the local volunteer fire department and was the chief for a period of time. When asked what brought him happiness and kept him going in life, he quickly answers: “The fire department. … I met so many friends.” Dransfield continued to be a regular at the firehouse as he got older and was part of the “3 to 5 club.” “After my grandmother passed away, that’s really what kept him going. Every day, he would go to the firehouse from 3 to 5, and all the old guys would sit there and hang out. That was like his family,” says Erica Lista, Dransfield’s granddaughter.

2. Milk does a body good

Dransfield left school after 8th grade and went to work for a dairy farm at 15 to help support his family. He delivered milk for five years and drank as much of it as he wanted, which he attributes to giving him a healthy boost — especially during the Great Depression in the 1930s. “I was drinking milk and eating well because I worked on a farm. And I often go back and think they gave me a good start in life and for my bones in my body,” Dransfield says. Milk still plays a role in his life: The centenarian credits drinking Ovaltine — a milk flavoring and nutrition supplement — every day after breakfast for his longevity. He’s been so outspoken about it that when he turned 100, everyone drank Ovaltine at his birthday party, Lista says.


3. Stay active

Dransfield didn’t lift weights or exercise in a gym, but he kept moving throughout his life. “I was 21 years old when I joined the fire department, and that’s the exercise I got every day — answered the fire alarms in Little Falls,” he says. “I was active and ran out when the alarm went off for 40 years. Then for the next 40 years, (I continued) when I felt like it.” Structured exercise amuses him. “He laughs at people who jog. He’s like, ‘Where are they running to?’” his granddaughter says.

4. Enjoy what you eat

The centenarian likes Italian food, hamburgers, and sweets, and drinks coffee and beer. Despite not being careful about his diet, he has always been fit and has never had to watch his weight or lose weight.

“What’s crazy is he was not careful about his diet,” Lista said.

“He has eaten whatever he wants. He has never watched his weight. He’s never had to lose weight. He’s always been fit.”

5. It’s never too late to fix a bad habit

Dransfield believes that it’s never too late to fix a bad habit. He started smoking at 50 but quit about 20 years later because he decided to stop. He simply threw away his cigarettes and never smoked again.

6. Stay optimistic

Dransfield considers himself an optimist. He has a great sense of humor and likes to know everybody’s name in his community. He believes that staying positive and engaged with others is key to a long and fulfilling life.


“I keep positive. I never think any other way when something’s wrong,” Dransfield said. “I’m doing fine and I hope the good Lord keeps me that way.”

Vincent Dransfield is a testament to the fact that a long and healthy life is achievable, even in old age. By staying active, eating what he loves, and staying engaged with his community, he has lived a fulfilling and happy life.