EMERSON, N.J. — As the digital numbers flashed on the blood pressure monitor, a public health nurse in New Jersey got right to the point with her 82-year-old patient.
“When did you have your last physical? Do you go for a physical every year?” asked Kathryn Hodges.
“Not really,” said Kenneth Dunne.
“Well, you should,” the nurse said, jotting on a form. “We always say if that number is over 90, you should get it checked out. Are you on blood pressure medication? Did you get a flu shot?”
When “Kay” Hodges advises and cajoles, her words are bolstered by experience — three quarters of a century’s worth.
At 97, she is both New Jersey’s oldest licensed registered nurse and a poster girl for people who stay active and productive at such an advanced age.
Those over 90 are the fastest-growing segment of the population. By 2050, 10% of all senior citizens will be either a …