“My mother is a huge fan of physical exercise. She indulges in it twice a day to maintain her good health,” Nguyen Thi Hien, her daughter-in-law, proudly shared.

Every morning, after a 30-minute warm-up session, she effortlessly completes 30 push-ups without showing any signs of fatigue or breathlessness.

She rarely falls sick.

Immediately after her exercise routine, she freshens up, has breakfast, and then heads to her garden to care for her flock of chickens and her grapefruit tree.

“My mother constantly reminds us of her good health and strength, assuring us that she doesn’t need any assistance while walking,” said Hien, 68.

“Last year, she used to wear a helmet and stand outside our house, hitchhiking rides to visit friends and family.

“When people asked her how she would return, she would simply smile and say that she would make her own way back home.”

Ket mentioned, “I live with my eldest son and daughter-in-law. They go to work at the cashew farms every day, while I stay home to cook, tend to the chickens, and manage the household chores.”

At one point, Ket managed to scare her family.

“In 2019, she spent two whole days and nights sleeping in a hammock, worrying us immensely, so we rushed her to the hospital. After multiple medical examinations, the doctors confirmed that she had no underlying health issues,” Hien recounted.

After that incident, Hien and her family became even more vigilant about taking care of Ket.

One weekend, her children and grandchildren gathered at her house. Ket’s granddaughter, Thuy, lovingly massaged Ket’s hands and back, while Ket affectionately stroked her grandchild’s cheeks.

Their laughter filled the entire house.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Bang, Ket’s 56-year-old daughter, and her son returned home on the weekend to visit their mother.

Bang proudly shared that she had bought fish to prepare delicious dishes for her mother.

Bang mentioned that despite her age, Ket always adheres to proper etiquette and manners.

She often narrates moral stories to her adult children, according to Bang.

The 101-year-old visits her garden and takes care of a flock of chickens every day. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

The 101-year-old visits her garden and takes care of a flock of chickens every day in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

A role model for family members

One of the many things Ket’s family members admire about her is her exceptional memory.

While recounting stories from her life, Ket mentioned that she moved to Binh Phuoc Province in 1978 from a northern region for work.

On barren land, she and her husband built a house, cultivated rice, and took on multiple jobs to support their eight children.

The elderly woman, named Ket, (R) poses for a photo with her family members. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

The elderly woman (L), named Nguyen Thi Ket, poses for a photo with her family members in Binh Phuoc Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

“A few years later, my husband fell ill and passed away, so I had to shoulder the burden and became the sole breadwinner,” she reminisced.

She can still vividly recall those stories, while her adult children admit that they struggle to remember the details.

“My mother can remember all the wedding gifts from our wedding ceremonies and can even put a name to any of her grandchildren or relatives,” said Bang.

The 101-year-old remains healthy. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

The 101-year-old remains healthy. Photo: Yen Trinh / Tuoi Tre

Her children and grandchildren consider Ket their role model and strive to emulate her actions, lifestyle, and commitment to moderate exercise.

“My mother is incredibly kind-hearted. Even though she has very little money, she often gives money to our neighbor, a victim of Agent Orange, whenever he visits our home,” her daughter added.

Regardless of her age, Ket takes a shower by herself every day without any assistance from her family members.

Additionally, she made “banh tet,” a type of glutinous rice cake, to celebrate the 2022 Lunar New Year.

Her family members are always delighted with her storytelling skills.

“Last year, on her 100th birthday, she received a strip of red brocade fabric from the President of the State. She was extremely thrilled,” Bang shared.

“My mother used the fabric to make two ‘ao dai’ (a traditional Vietnamese dress) and one ‘ao ba ba’ (a traditional garment from the southern region),” she added.