Oceanside CA— Oceanside resident Bella Pfennig was born 12-12-12 as in 1912. Bella celebrated her 102nd birthday a day early this morning at Tri-City Medical Center. “I still have two parties tomorrow” said Bella.
Bella has been on the receiving end of Tele-Care calls for 16 years now. Because of the close relationship built over the past several years, the auxiliary threw her a party.
The Tri- City Tele-Care volunteers have nicknamed her “Beautiful Bella” and say she is still quite the pistol.
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood stopped by the party and delivered a proclamation to Bella that read, in part “Congratulations on reaching the wonderful age of 102 years young. Your ageless presence has been an inspiration to all that are around you.”
Bella was born in Canada and lived in a sod roof home with seven brothers and sisters. Her parents sent each of the kids to America, one at a time to become US citizens. When Bella first arrived in California, she lived with her husband in La Jolla. When her husband passed away from cancer, in his sixties, she decided to move to Oceanside. Bella was a seamstress and continues to sew to this day.
Jean Kreinbil sold Bella her Oceanside home, which she still lives in, in 1970. “She still remembers me. She is sharp.” said Jean who was attending the celebration at Tri-City.
D.G. Kilcher said she has adopted her neighbor, Bella. “I can’t keep her out of trouble” added D.G. “She is so very independent.” to which Bella quickly replied with a smile “I can’t get into trouble anymore. There are too many people checking in on me.”
The hospital Tele-Care program is a free non-medical service for seniors or community members who spend extended time alone or just need some extra support. Pat Morocco said there are eight volunteers who make calls 365 days a year. “Sometimes, we are the only people they get to speak to in a day.” said Pat.
The volunteers call to check on the people in the program to see how they are doing and to remind them to take their medications. “If someone doesn’t answer, we have a list of neighbors or family members who can go visit the home and see if they are okay.” explained Morocco. Pat said if the person on the other end of the phone call has a medical question “We refer them immediately to call their doctor.”
The holidays can be a lonely time for seniors and the program helps shut ins who might not have family and friends around to celebrate the season with. Whether it’s a call to remind people to take their medications or simply to chat, a little bit goes a long way. After several years of calling on Pfennig, she’s become like family to the Tele-Care volunteers.