Celebrating 104th Birthday in McLean

Celebrating 104th Birthday in McLean

Serah Wankijiku Mbugua shared a happy 104th birthday at Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care in McLean.

Serah Wankijiku Mbugua shared a happy 104th birthday at Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care in McLean.

Friends, family, Kenyan drummers, neighborhood Fairfax County firefighters and staff at Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care in McLean gathered there recently to wish Serah Wankijiku Mbugua a very special happy 104th birthday.

Born in rural Kenya on Jan. 1, 1920, Mbugua – whom everyone at Lewinsville calls “Mama Serah” – has been a Lewinsville participant for 10 years. Even at her remarkable age, she still enjoys morning walks (with a walker), dancing, eating bananas and rice, and attending Lewinsville several days a week, where the staff consider her a local treasure.

“Mama Serah is so happy, proud and joyful,” said Lewinsville ADHC nurse Max Powell. “She always has a smile on her face. Whatever Mama Serah wants, Mama Serah gets. She is the sheriff here.”

Lewinsville staff was excited to celebrate the milestone birthday. They decorated the center in Kenyan colors, gave Mama Serah a tiara and presented her with a giant birthday cake (though they decided against 104 candles, Powell said). Mama Serah blew out the candles herself.

Mbugua’s daughter, Nyambura, 68, said she does not know the secret to her mother’s longevity, adding that her grandmother lived to 104, so it may just run in the family. What she does know her mother comes home from ADHC well cared-for and “very, very happy.”

Staff at Lewinsville said Nyambura and her husband, Quadri Mogaji, are very involved with Mama Serah’s care at the center. They need to be extra communicative because Mbugua, who came to the United States in 1998, does not speak much English.

“We don’t have to worry about anything,” Nyambura said. “She is happy and safe when she is here. We love everyone at Lewinsville so much.”

Lewinsville is one of four NCS Adult Day Health Care locations, along with Herndon Harbor, Lincolnia and Mount Vernon. ADHC believes everyone should live their best life, regardless of physical or mental limitations. Keeping older adults with dementia and other cognitive conditions engaged physically, mentally and socially can have a great impact on their health – just look at Mama Serah.

“We just love her,” says Marlese Clifton, Lewinsville’s nurse coordinator, adding the center was proud to celebrate Mama Serah’s Kenyan heritage and respects all clients’ cultures. “When I interview families who want to come here, one of the issues is when the client is home, they sleep a lot of the time. Then they come here and are safe and engaged – and they want to come here more days because of it.”

Special guests at the celebration included firefighters from Fairfax County Station 44 in McLean and NCS Deputy Director Keisha Dotson, who offered best wishes on the milestone day.

“What a blessing for such a long life,” she said. “I am so happy for Mama Serah has chosen the Lewinsville family.”