Meet the supercentenarians: World’s oldest people born in the 1800s share the secrets of long life

  • By Glen James, Emma Mountford

It seems it’s not that unusual to live a very long life these days….well, as long as you’re a woman and don’t live in the UK

Longevity: Susannah Mushatt Jones, 113 (l), Gertrude Weaver, 116 (top r) and Misao Okawa, 116

Imagine living through the turn of two centuries, two world wars, and seeing 115 New Year’s Eves?

Well that’s the reality for these supercentarians (that’s those who have lived past the grand old age of 110).

Five of the world’s oldest people were all born in the 1800s and guess what? They are also all women.

Here, some of the pensioners reveal their secrets to long life. Or if it’s marriage advice you’re looking for, try Ernie and Renie Hill – married for an incredible 74 years.

World’s oldest person: Misao Okawo – 116

Misao Okawa

Long life: Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest Japanese woman

Misao Okawo, who will be celebrating her 117th birthday in March, is currently the world’s oldest person.

The great-gran of six, who lives in Osaka in Japan, puts her long life down to eating sushi, getting eight hours sleep a night and relaxing.

Born in 1898, she got married in 1919 and has three children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1931.

She was presented with a certificate from the Guiness Book of Records officially recognising her as the world’s oldest living woman when she turned 115.

Japan is thought to have more than 50,000 people over 100-years-old, which is often attributed to the country’s low fat diet of sushi and fish.

Oldest American: Gertrude Weaver – 116

APGertrude Weaver poses at Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center in Camden, Ark., a day before her 116th birthday

Secret? ‘Treat people right and be nice to others’

Born on Independence Day 1898, and still said to be an independent woman, Mrs Weaver, of Arkansas, says it’s her faith that keeps her going.

The wheelchair-dancing enthusiast wed in 1915, had four children and is now visited regularly in her care home by a 78-year-old granddaughter.

Now spending her days enjoying manicures and Bible study, she told Time magazine her secret to long life.

“Kindness,” she said. “Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you.”

Jeralean Talley – 115

Jeralean Talley is 115 and lives in Michigan.

She was born in 1899 and had one child with her husband, Alfred. Thelma, 76, now lives with her mum to take care of her.

She is the one of the oldest living people in America and has revealed the reason why she has lived so long hasn’t changed over the years.

She told the Detroit Free Press: “It’s all in the good Lord’s hands. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Susannah Mushatt Jones – 115

Susannah Mushatt Jones

Feisty: Susannah Mushatt Jones

This feisty New Yorker, born on July 6, 1899, says she doesn’t have a secret to long life except that she doesn’t drink or smoke and ensures she gets a good night’s sleep.

But she loves her bacon. According to Time, she loves bacon and eats it every morning.

She never had children, but saved her salary to help pay for nieces to go to college.

Another woman who made the list is Emma Morano-Martinuzzi, 115, from Italy.

The record for the world’s oldest ever person is still held by Jeanne Calment from France – who passed away in 1997 aged 122.

Watch Stanislaw Kowalski, 104, become the oldest person in Europe to run a 100-metre race: