Oldest living man with Down syndrome-world record set by Bert Holbrook
WASECA, MN, USA-- Bert Holbrook ( b. 24 August 1928), born in Waseca to Bert and Lillian Holbrook, has set the world record for the Oldest living man with Down syndrome .
Bert Holbrook was born in Waseca in a time when people with Down syndrome lived to an average age of nine years, institutions were the norm and medical care was minimal, according to experts.
Photo: County News/Ruth Ann Hager ( enlarge photo )
But Bert Holbrook, Jr. was raised by his parents at home and helped them in the family’s meat and grocery store where he “socialized with everyone,” said Pat Foley, his nurse at Elm North, an intermediate care facility where he lives today.
For 60 years he was a familiar face around town and everyone knew him as Junior.
Even today, Foley said, people who see him out about town call out to him, “Hey, Junior; how’s it going?” In his youth, Junior was mildly developmentally disabled, she said, but with aging comes dementia. Now, he is considered severely disabled, has a hearing loss, and doesn’t like his hearing aids.
Holbrook went to live at Elm Homes in 1984 and moved to Elm North in 2004 (owner Gene Miller).
At Elm North, Junior lives with seven female residents. “He’s the king,” said Foley, who has worked with him for 18 years.
“He’ll love the attention it brings because he is very social,” Foley said about Junior. “He’s just a cool guy,” she said, and she’s happy for the positive attention Junior’s birthday may bring to him.
Once a week he spends the day with Melissa Stoltz, who is his “favorite.”“He’s a trouble maker,” Stoltz said with a grin. “Now he’s my favorite.”
Holbrook’s 90-year-old sister in Indiana is very excited about the record for her brother and Foley is happy for the publicity the World Record has brought to Holbrook and others.
“I want everyone to know how awesome this population is,” she said about the Down syndrome community. “They’re real people, not statistics.”
By 2005 the age expectancy of a person with Down Syndrome had risen to 55 years because of home care or smaller facilities and better medical treatment.
Onsite Report by News Editor Ruth Ann Hager/ courtesy of Waseca County News
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Wednesday, December 31, 2008