Tuesday, May 28, 2024

5 Oldest Living Humans from All Over the World

Ankita Naskar

Longevity has long fascinated and inspired people across cultures. Throughout history, there have been accounts of individuals who have lived far beyond the average life expectancy of their time, sometimes reaching 100 years old or more. Even today, with modern medicine and improvements in quality of life, it is remarkable when someone celebrates their 100th birthday. However, some supercentenarians have shattered all expectations and achieved extraordinarily long lives. They stand out as examples of resilience, vitality, and the incredible capacity of the human body and spirit.

In this article, we will highlight five of the oldest living people in the world from diverse areas who have all crossed the remarkable milestone of 110 years of age. While their backgrounds, lifestyles, and secrets to longevity may differ, they share a remarkable will to live and positive attitudes despite their advanced age.

1. Jeanne Calment (1875–1997, 122 years)

With a remarkable longevity of 122 years and 164 days, Jeanne Calment of France holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest confirmed human lifespan. Born in 1875, Calment lived through historic moments like the construction of the Eiffel Tower and the development of the first aeroplane flights. Her life spanned an incredible era of human history and change, from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries.

Calment was known for her wit and youthful spirit, even as she aged. At age 85, she took up fencing lessons, and at 100, she was still riding her bike. She attributed her longevity to sleeping well, laughing often, and her daily glass of Port wine and chocolate. She also dismissed stress and only did things that she wanted to do. When Calment finally passed away in 1997, she had lived a remarkably full, engaged, and lengthy life that brought inspiration and wonder to people around the world.

2. Kane Tanaka (born 1903, aged 119)

The currently verified oldest living person in the world is Kane Tanaka of Japan, at the remarkable age of 119 years old. Born in 1903, Tanaka was already 117 when COVID-19 broke out globally in 2020. Yet, despite world events, she continues her longevity journey. She married back in 1922 and went on to have several businesses and children over her long life. Tanaka is the oldest living person as of today, according to Guinness World Records.

Now, at 119 years old, Tanaka spends her time enjoying her hobbies like math, chess, sudoku, and calligraphy. Her daily routine also involves memorization exercises, tea ceremonies, and conversations with family and staff at the nursing home where she resides. Tanaka credits her faith, hope, family connections, and positive attitude for her long lifespan. She aims to reach 120 years old in 2023.

3. Lucile Randon (born 1904, aged 118)

Currently, the oldest living European is French nun Sister André, born Lucile Randon in 1904. At 118 years old, Sister André is also the second oldest living person in the world after Kane Tanaka. Born into a Protestant family, Sister André converted to Catholicism and entered a convent in 1944. In her long life, she has survived two World Wars, the Spanish flu, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite her advanced age, Sister André maintains a resolute spirit and a lively sense of humour. Though her eyesight and hearing are fading, she continues to hold conversations and enjoys carers reading her letters. She also has a noted sweet tooth, loving chocolate and desserts like baked Alaska. When asked about her exceptional lifespan, Sister André once wittily replied, “God forgot me”. Her remarkable longevity as Europe’s oldest person has made her a national symbol of resilience and hope.

4. María Capovilla (1889–2006, 116 years)

María Esther Heredia Lecaro de Capovilla, better known as María Capovilla, was a supercentenarian from Ecuador who was once recognised as the world’s oldest living person and the longest-living Ecuadorian in history. She was born in 1889 and lived an exceptionally long life of 116 years and 347 days before passing away in 2006.

Capovilla was alert and lively past her 100th birthday, sharing memories of events in the 1800s. She never drank heavy drinks or smoked. She attributed her longevity to having caring neighbours, a large family with five children, and maintaining a calm, patient attitude. In her final years, her renown as the oldest living person brought her national fame in Ecuador. The president even bestowed her with the country’s highest honour. When Capovilla died just short of 117, she was among the top ten longest-living people ever verified.

5. Jiroemon Kimura (1897–2013, 116 Years)

The oldest man alive was Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, and modern records support his age.. He astonishingly lived to 116 years and 54 days. He was born in 1897 and grew up in a tradition-bound but rapidly modernising Japan. During his life, he worked as a postal worker and educator, and he also had seven children with his wife.

Even as Kimura entered his 100s, he continued his routine of rising early, reading the newspaper daily, and enjoying simple pleasures like conversing with visitors and watching sumo wrestling on TV. His motto was “Eat light to live long”. Kimura attributed his longevity to eating moderate portions of food, staying positive, and getting proper sleep. When he died in 2013, he was not only the longest-living man but also the last verified male to be born in the 1800s. His legacy has provided key insights into achieving an extraordinarily long lifespan as a male.

While human life expectancy worldwide has risen over the decades thanks to development and healthcare, it is still extremely rare for individuals to live past 115 or 120 years and beyond. The handful of supercentenarians around the globe who have achieved this stand out as amazing exceptions, inspiring wonder at how they have endured the ravages of time.

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