With her nieces and caretaker wheeling her to her party, Ms. Jones held her head high as she wore a navy blue dress covered with small white flowers, a matching hat, and sunglasses. Not long thereafter, her head was drooping, and her nieces wheeled her upstairs for some rest. Ms. Jones’ family, friends, and well-wishers got together at the Brooklyn senior center where she lives to celebrate her 114th birthday.
Ms. Jones is the oldest resident of the state of New York, the second-oldest American and the third-oldest person in the world, among those whose ages have been verified by the Gerontology Research Group.
She’s living history and a blessing, a true blessing,” said Richard Clay, her 69-year-old godson. “I have a little ways to go to catch up with her.”
Born July 6, 1899, in Lowndes County, Alabama, Ms. Jones is one of the world’s 61 living supercentenarians whose ages has been verified by the research group through documents like birth records and census counts. A supercentenarian is someone 110 or older. “I consider her to be a superhuman being,” said her oldest niece, Lavilla Mushatt Watson, who is “81 and proud of it.”
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Without children, Ms. Jones divorced her husband soon after being wed, but her nieces said she always took care of her siblings’ families. Her family credits her longevity to her focus on treating others well. For example, Ms. Jones paid for Ms. Watson’s college education.
“I am who I am because of her,” she said. Ms. Jones stayed independent well into her 90s, Ms. Watson said.
With her declining eyesight, which degenerated around the time she reached 100, she pretended she could see in front of her family.
“She was so independent, she didn’t want us to know,” Ms. Watson said.
Christopher J. Berry is an elder law lawyer in Michigan Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.theeldercarefirm.com/ or call 248.481.4000