World’s oldest living person celebrates her 117th birthday

OVIEDO (Spain), March 4: Maria Branyas Morera, the world’s oldest living person, celebrated her 117th birthday in Catalonia, Spain, on Monday.

“Old age is a kind of sacrament. You lose your hearing, but you hear more because you hear life, not noises… In the light of death, life takes on a specific, more definitive weight,” she posted on her X account on Monday, quoting the Catholic theologian Pedro Casaldaliga, according to Anadolu Agency.

The Guinness Book of World Records gave her the title of oldest living person in January 2023, following the death of the 118-year-old French woman Lucile Randon.

Born in San Francisco in 1907 to Catalan parents, she returned to live with her family in Spain when she was eight years old. During the transatlantic journey, she became deaf in one ear and her father died due to tuberculosis.

According to Guinness, she has been living in the same nursing home for the past 23 years and is doing well health-wise.

Besides hearing and mobility issues, Guinness says she has no other physical or mental health problems and is undergoing scientific testing by researchers who hope to gain insight into longevity.

In addition to “luck and good genetics,” Branyas attributes her longevity to “order, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability, no worries, no regrets, lots of positivity, and staying away from toxic people.”

Anadolu reported Branyas’ bio on her X account reads: “I am old, very old, but I’m not an idiot.”

She also posted on Feb 5 that while her head is still agile, her body is dying out. “I won’t last long,” she predicted.

But she also celebrates small moments on social media, like her dog giving birth, and shares philosophical quotes about such as this one by Uruguayan novelist Mario Benedetti: “After all, death is only a symptom of life.”

According to Guinness, Branyas is now the 12th oldest verified living person in history, but if she lives another year she will move up to spot number five.

The oldest person ever authenticated was Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who lived to the age of 122 years 164 days.