Dody Patterson is 104 years old and credits her longevity to knitting.
“Hard work and interest in doing one project after another,” Patterson, who lives in an assisted living home in Eugene, Oregon, told TODAY. “I’ve been busy with my hands nearly all of my life. I feel wonderful.”
Dody keeps busy by knitting warm wool hats for Caps for Kids, a local charity that distributes them to children in and around her community. She knits about 250 caps every year.
“It’s satisfying, it’s restful, it exercises the eyes and the hands, and it keeps my mind exercised,” she said.
Dody has been knitting for nearly a century; her grandmother taught her how to knit with a cotton string when she was 7.
She was married for 43 years and worked as a beautician for five decades. She has four great-great grandchildren.
Genetics and a healthful lifestyle may have also contributed to Dody’s longevity. She had a sister who lived to be 95 and a brother who lived to be 97. She mainly lives on fruit, vegetables and nuts, and hasn’t eaten beef or pork in 25 years. Dody also avoids dairy and exercises three to four times a week at her nursing home.
“I don’t think of her as a 104-year-old; I think of her as 104 years young,” said Mona Rummel, who started the Caps for Kids program.
“She’s inspirational to everybody who meets her," Rummel added. "It just shows people you’re never too old to try something new or to just keep going forward.”
“I just am thankful for every day that passes that I’ll be able to keep knitting tomorrow,” Dody said.