Mrs. Hazel McCain Celebrates 99 Years


By Mikala McCurry

Montgomery, AL- Mrs. Hazel McCain, the oldest resident in the Central Alabama Aging Consortium, recently celebrated 99 years of life. Throughout her lifetime, she has seen her fair share of struggles. Still, if you ask Mrs. McCain one word that would describe her life, she would say “blessed”.

Mrs. McCain was born and raised in Hayneville, AL. Her father died in a hunting accident before she turned one, so she was raised by her mother and step-father until he passed in her teen years. After that, she and her mother relocated to Montgomery.

She met her husband at 18 years old and got married at 24. His job resulted in their relocation to Connecticut. She lived there with her husband from 1949 until his passing in 1960. McCain returned to Montgomery in 1990 when her mother got sick and has resided here ever since.

“This is where I’ve been all these years. One after another, the whole family began to go. When I looked around, it was nobody but me,” she said.

Although McCain did not have blood-related relatives around her, she gained new friends and family in the area when she started going to different senior centers around the city. She now attends the Pilgrim Rest Senior Center.

“Once I started going to these centers, this became my whole family. They treat me just like I’m the mother or grandmother,” she said.

When McCain began to lose her eyesight in 2007 due to macro degeneration glaucoma, the community surrounded her and supported her through the healing process. To this day, her neighbors come by several times a week to check on McCain and bring her meals.

“I’m blessed to have a neighborhood. I have found that no matter what happens to you, if you have caring people around you, you’ll be okay. I come to the center here, and everybody wants to help me,” she explained.

Aside from her eyesight, McCain is in good health and even better spirits at 99 years old.

“I don’t have to worry about anything. I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and pray and thank the Lord,” she said. “To be 99, I’ve never been in the hospital; I’ve never been sick enough to have to go to the hospital. My doctors say for my age, I’m in pretty good health.”

Since connecting with senior centers and gaining a new family, McCain says her life has been “smooth”. The Pilgrim Rest Senior Center put together a birthday parade for Mrs. McCain to celebrate a big milestone for her.

“I’m blessed to have a church family and this center family, even though I don’t have a real family.

When asked what advice she would give to younger generations on the key to living a long, prosperous life, she quoted the Golden Rule: treat others how you want to be treated.

“Treat everybody the way you want to be treated. You don’t want to be hurt, so don’t hurt anybody. If anybody says anything to you, think first before you say anything back. Pray and ask God to give you insight on how to treat others the way you want to be treated. Love and learn to forgive,” she said.

Despite the ups and downs she has experienced, McCain’s positive attitude radiates wherever she goes.

“Sometimes I sit down and take inventory of my life, and I can’t find anything to complain about. From where I’m sitting now, everything looks fine. I’m truly blessed,” she said.

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