Ukraine's 'oldest man' turns 116
By Helen Fawkes
BBC News, Kiev
Hryhoriy puts his long life down to the fact that he never married
A man thought to be the oldest living person in the world is celebrating his 116th birthday. Hryhoriy Nestor was born in what is now Ukraine.
The authorities are to mark the occasion by officially recognising him as the oldest person in Ukraine.
They say they have documents that prove that his birthday is on 15 March 1891. An attempt is now being made to get him into the international record books.
Hryhoriy puts his long life down to the fact that he has never been married.
To mark his birthday, Hryhoriy Nestor is having a small party - just a few friends and family will gather at his home.
Austro-Hungarian 'golden era'
Unlike many people from his village in western Ukraine, Hryhoriy has survived a brutal dictatorship, wars and grinding poverty.
In the past, the area was ruled by Poland and the Soviet Union.
But the 116-year-old says that life was best when the region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a century ago.
It was only at the age of 100 that he retired from working as a farm labourer.
He is now looked after by a relative.
Hryhoriy, who still has a full head of hair, says that being single has kept him feeling young.
He recommends a diet of milk, cheese and potatoes as well as the occasional shot of vodka.
Someone who doesn't seem to have yet been mentioned in this discussion is the "revered Sephardic rabbi" and scholar Yitzchak Kaduri. When he died in February, 2006, the lowest estimate given of his age was 106.
Sohan Dosova pictured on the front page of a local newspaper
"Do you remember Tsar Nikolai's era? When the Red Army came and when Vladimir Lenin died? Well I do. So take a guess how old I am."
Meet Sohan Dosova - the newly found treasure of Kazakhstan. She is 130 years old, at least she is according to her documents.
The Soviet passport issued in the early 1980s states that Sohan Dosova was born in the Karaganda region on 27 March 1879.
Now after a new national census in Kazakhstan, she has been "rediscovered".
"This is a truly unique case," says Ludmila Kolesova, the head of Karaganda region statistics agency.
"According to international standards we do not usually seek proof of ID when collecting census data, but when it came to Sohan Dosova we had to check her documents and verify this information with the social services department. They confirmed her date of birth."
Sohan Dosova can still walk, albeit with great care, assisted by a walking stick.
She eats slowly, and her favourite snack is bread soaked in tea. Sohan chews her food with a single remaining tooth.
Sohan says she can no longer dance, but she enjoys singing
"My secret is to add butter to my cup of tea; this is how Kazakhs like their tea," says Sohan, speaking a mixture of Kazakh and Russian.
She can still see, but has hearing problems, so most of the communication is done via her granddaughters - and there is no shortage of them.
Sohan had 10 children, and three of them are still alive. Her son had seven children. One of two daughters had six children, and the other, 22.
"There is a small tribe of great-grandchildren," says 53-year-old Gulgoim, her eldest granddaughter. But when pressed, Gulgoim was unable to say just how many.
Sohan Dosova has lived her entire life in Aul, a village in the central Karaganda region, the industrial heart of the country.
Most of the population work in the coal mining industry. Semipalatinsk, the first Soviet nuclear test site, is nearby.
Some of Sohan's grandchildren are mentally ill. They are among thousands believed to have been victims of Soviet nuclear experiments.
But Sohan has stayed healthy.
"She is in good shape, alert and active," says Valentina Shamardina, a family doctor with 40 years experience.
"In my whole career I never came across cases like this. When I first arrived to do a check-up I demanded to see her passport and it all looked correct.
"I've never heard of anyone living that long."
If Mrs Dosova really is 130 years old, that would make her the oldest person in the world. But if she ever had a birth certificate, it no longer exists.
Sohan Dosova's Soviet passport issued in the early 1980s
A Soviet passport issued in the early 1980s makes Sohan Dosova 130
In fact few rural Kazakhs born in those days are likely to have been registered. It was common for people to make up their date of birth.
Her true age is simply impossible to establish. But the local media is satisfied she's the oldest woman in Kazakhstan.
Since the results of the census were made public, journalists have become frequent visitors to Sohan's fifth floor apartment.
"This place is small, I need a bigger flat," says Sohan. "There are too many people living in this crowded apartment, there is not enough room."
Certainly her family appear to be hopeful that all the media attention might result in an improvement to Sohan's living conditions.
But up to now, no benefactor has been forthcoming. So Sohan continues to live a simple existence in her old age, watching television, laughing and smiling.
Her granddaughter Nuken claims she loves dancing, but Sohan says she is too old for that now.
"I can't dance, my knees hurt... But I can sing." And so she gives a gruff rendition of her favourite Kazakh song.
"With Maria's passing, the title of oldest living person reverts back to American Besse Cooper, age 114 years 299 days," Guinness said. The Georgia woman's son, Sid Cooper, said his mother was doing well at her Monroe retirement community.
"She's gained some weight, she's eating real good," he said. "Her memory is still really good. She remembers things from a long time ago and recognises people."
Guinness verified that Valentim was born on 9 July 1896, in the city of Carangola in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais, where she lived all her life.
Last month, Valentim, who was known as Grandma Quita, attributed her longevity to a healthy diet: eating a roll of bread every morning with coffee, fruit and the occasional milk with linseed.
Valentim's family told reporters she had a stubborn streak and always made a habit of minding her own business. They also said that her father lived to be 100.
If Maria's birth certificate is right, she is nearly six years older than the verified oldest living woman
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'World's oldest woman', 114, dies
'World's oldest man' dies at 114
Brazil tribe overrun by 'dealers'
A Brazilian Indian who celebrates her birthday on Saturday may be the oldest woman in the world - and by some distance.
Maria Lucimar Pereira, a member of the Kaxinawa tribe, is 121 years old, says a tribal rights group.
It says she has a birth certificate showing she was born in 1890.
But the Guinness Book of Records says she has not been registered with them. The verified oldest living woman is 115-year-old American Besse Cooper.
Maria puts her longevity down to a healthy lifestyle, Survival International said - with regular dishes including grilled meat, monkey, fish, the root vegetable manioc and banana porridge, and no salt, sugar or processed foods.
She has never lived in a city and does not speak Portuguese, only the language of her tribe, the Kaxinawa, which inhabits Brazil's western Amazon and eastern Peru.
She remains physically active, community leader Carlos told Survival - walking around the village telling stories and visiting grandchildren in neighbouring areas.
Maria says she will spend her birthday with her family
Maria says she will spend her birthday with her family.
The pictures of Maria were taken by employees of the INSS - the national social security institute - when she responded to a request, broadcast on public radio, to appear at the regional INSS office, Brazilian media reported.
Brazilians over the age of 110 are asked to visit their local offices to prove that they are still alive in order to receive pensions or other benefits.
Guinness World Records told the BBC it had no record of contact from Maria Lucimar Pereira or anyone on her behalf. It said the oldest verified living person remained Besse Cooper.
"We would be very interested in hearing from anyone who believes they are older than this [and] can provide documentary evidence," the company's Damian Field said.
Survival says her birth certificate, which it has a copy of, was issued in 1985.
It paints a picture of the troubles Maria may have lived through, such as the rubber boom which saw many Indians enslaved and killed.
"All too often we witness the negative effects forced change can have on indigenous peoples," Survival director Stephen Corry said.
"It is refreshing to see a community that has retained strong links to its ancestral land and enjoyed the undeniable benefits of this."
Olivia Breen: OLIVIA BREEN, who has died in her 110th year, was Ireland’s oldest citizen. Her life spanned the sinking of the Titanic and the attack on the Twin Towers. She lived through the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and two world wars, as well as the Cold War.
Born in Wexford in 1901, she was one of six children of J Richard Dier and his wife Eliza (née Watchorn). Her father, a member of the Irish branch of an Anglo-Saxon family, farmed 200 acres at Coolbawn, Clonroche, and was a justice of the peace. Her mother was from Carlow.
Her brother Richard died in the Battle of the Somme, while another brother John practised medicine in Scotland, having qualified from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Edinburgh University.
The family kept horses and rode to hounds. Her father, while in his 90th year, rode with the Bree Hunt on St Patrick’s Day, 1947. Olivia herself was a fine horsewoman, and rode regularly with the hunt.
She closely followed show-jumping, and Iris Kellett and Eddie Macken were among her favourite riders.
In 1932 she was married to Patrick Breen of Milltown, Co Kerry, and they had three sons and a daughter. The family lived for many years in Portlaw, Co Waterford, and then moved to Dublin, where her husband died in 1964. She later settled in Cork.
She embraced the many changes and developments in Irish society and was guided by a simple philosophy: “Never look back.”
Her interests included literature, and she never tired of Charles Dickens and the Brontë sisters; she also enjoyed listening to radio plays. Gardening was another of her pastimes and she was very close to nature throughout her life.
She attributed her longevity to strength of spirit and a carefree attitude. “She always said she never knew the meaning of the word ‘worry’,” according to her daughter-in-law, Rose Breen.
She moved into the Care Choice nursing home, in Montenotte, Cork, in 2001, but remained active and alert, keeping herself informed of advances in technology. She said she only used a walking stick to keep the nurses happy.
She received the centenarian’s bounty from President McAleese on her 100th birthday, and each year since.
Buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with her husband, she is survived by her sons Michael, Noel and Gerard and her daughter Florence, and also her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Olivia Breen: born October 3rd, 1901; died September 18th, 2011
Sant Kaur Bajwa, who is believed to be have been the oldest woman in the world, died on Friday
A woman believed to be the world's oldest person has died at the age of 115 years and 199 days.
Sant Kaur Bajwa, from Southall, west London, was born on 1 January 1898 in Pakistan, according to her passport. She has lived in the UK since 1969.
Her family said they believed she was the oldest person, however they have not had this officially verified.
The Guinness World Records said to verify a claim, it needed to see a birth certificate and a passport.
Her grandson Sanjeev Singh Rai said: "Back in the day I don't know if they even issued birth certificates, but her passport has her birth date down as 1 January, 1898."
Up until her death on Friday, Ms Bajwa was believed to be the oldest person in the world.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest surviving person is Misao Okawa, from Japan, who is 115 years and 99 days old.
Grace Jones, who is 113, is the oldest person in the UK, according to Guinness.
Secret to longevity
Ms Bajwa lived through three centuries, two world wars and the India-Pakistan partition.
"That was a really difficult time for her," her grandson Sukhinda Singh Rai told the BBC.
"To be uprooted from where she was born in Sialkot in Pakistan to Gurdaspur in India was hard."
Although Ms Bajwa's children died before her, she is survived by 12 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Her husband, Munsha Singh, was killed after just six years of marriage, which meant she had to bring three children up on her own.
Sant Kaur Bajwa with her great grandchildren
Sant Kaur Bajwa is survived by 12 grandchildren
Then, in 1972, her daughter died from cancer, leaving her to care for her daughter's four children, including twin boys.
Mr Rai said: "As far back as I can remember she was my mother.
"My twin and I didn't know any different. She looked after us diligently."
The family put their grandmother's longevity down to a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as her Sikh faith.
Son-in-law, Ajit Sing, who is now 86, remembers her visits to the local Sikh temple.
"She was God-fearing woman who worshipped daily and went to the gurdwara to offer prayers."
Charlene, the oldest great-grandchild said "she was the glue that has kept our incredibly large family together".
Eleven-year-old Pasha said: "Although it's sad that Granny has passed away but I want to celebrate her long life."
Johanna Mazibuko, who has had seven children, lives with her 77-year-old son
At 119 years old Johanna Mazibuko, who lives in small town south-west of Johannesburg, could be the world's oldest person.
Ms Mazibuko was born in 1894, according to her identity papers, and has outlived five of her seven children.
"God gave my life in abundance, plus a bonus. I am very old now," she told South Africa's Sowetan newspaper.
According to Guinness World Records, the oldest living person is Misao Okawa, from Japan, who is 115.
Ms Mazibuko shares her house in Klerksdorp, which is about 160km (100 miles) south-west of Johannesburg, with her 77-year-old son, Tseko Mazibuko, who is also a pensioner.
According to the Sowetan, Ms Mazibuko prides herself on still being able to make her bed every morning.
Continue reading the main story
World's oldest people
Oldest person and woman recorded in history: Jeanne Calment, France, died 4 August 1997 aged 122
Oldest man recorded in history: Jiroemon Kimura, Japan, died 12 June 2013 aged 116
Oldest living person and woman: Misao Okawa, Japan, 115
Oldest living man: Salustiano Sanchez, born in Spain lives in the US, 112
Source: Gerontology Research Group and Guinness World Records
"I'm doing alright," she said.
Her ID book, issued in 1986, shows her date of birth as 11 May 1894, the Sowetan reports.
South Africa's home affairs ministry has not confirmed the authenticity of Ms Mazibuko's identity documents, but the AFP news agency says it has seen a copy of them.
Ms Mazibuko, the oldest of 10 siblings, reportedly cooks, dresses herself, does the laundry and watches television.
"She is able to move on her own but cannot stand for a long time. She gets dizzy," her son told the Sowetan.
Ms Mazibuko has lived through British colonialism, apartheid and the era of democracy led by Nelson Mandela, who was elected South Africa's president in 1994.
The oldest person recorded in history was Jeanne Calment from France who died 4 August 1997 aged 122.
Bananas, pain killers do trick for world's oldest man
July 27th, 2013 in Health /
A US drug company said Friday it was considering a banana-flavored version of its pain reliever after the world's oldest man attributed his longevity to the fruit and the drug.
Spanish-born Salustiano "Shorty" Sanchez-Blazquez, a 112-year-old former coal miner who lives close to Niagara Falls in upstate New York, was named by Guinness World Records as the oldest certified man on the planet Thursday.
He succeeded Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who died on June 12 at the age of 116. According to Guinness, Sanchez-Blazquez is currently the only male born in 1901 with proof of birth.
From his birthplace in Spain, he moved at 17 to Cuba, where he worked on sugar plantations, before arriving in the United States via the iconic immigration center on Ellis Island in 1920.
After working as a miner in Kentucky, he eventually settled in the Niagara area, close to the border with Canada.
In a statement, he said he believed he had lived to such an old age thanks to a daily dose of a banana and six tablets of Anacin, a branded pain-reliever that includes aspirin and caffeine.
That naturally delighted Anacin's manufacturer Insight Pharmaceuticals.
"Historically, apples are the fruit most associated with staying healthy and avoiding doctors," said marketing vice-president Jennifer Moyer.
"Our scientists had never looked into the banana before. But now that the certified oldest man in the world credits bananas and Anacin as his life-extending combo, we're certainly going to explore whether a new 'Bananacin' product makes sense."
Alimihan Seyiti, who was born in 1886, during the latter years of the Qing dynasty. She said her long life may have something to do with her habit of drinking cold water all year round, and her relatively youthful appearance was down to “washing her face”. Photograph: xjdail.com
A 127-year-old woman living in Kashgar in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang has been named by the Geriatric Society of China (GSC) as the world’s oldest woman and is now awaiting global recognition of her longevity.
Alimihan Seyiti was born on June 25th, 1886, during the latter years of the Qing dynasty. She said her long life may have something to do with her habit of drinking cold water all year round and her relatively youthful appearance was down to “washing her face”.
Relatives told the Global Times newspaper that she was considered the village’s most eligible young woman when she was married at 17. “Back then I had quite a few suitors,” she said.
She was hailed as China’s oldest supercentenarian in June by the GSC following the death of Luo Meizhen in Guangxi Zhuang region, who was born in 1885.
Ms Seyiti prides herself on being able to shop at the local bazaar in the largely Muslim area and visit friends without help. She also enjoys telling jokes and singing traditional Uighur love songs.
Ms Seyiti did not have children of her own, but has an adopted daughter and son. She lives with her adopted daughter and has 40 grand- and great- grandchildren. “My favourite is my 15-year-old great-grandson. He comes to visit me every week,” she told the paper.
She comes from a very long- lived region. Wang Feng, deputy director of the GSC, claims there are eight centenarians in Shule county, which has a population of just below 300,000.
“We will nominate Shule county as a Chinese longevity cluster this October when China’s top-10 oldest people will be announced,” Mr Wang said.
It is a hotly contested title. Fu Suqing, from Chengdu, is waiting for Guinness World Record officials to approve her request after the previous bearer, Jiroemon Kimura, died in June aged 116.
Meanwhile in Bolivia it is reported that a man living in a remote village in the Andes is 123 years old. According to baptism records, Carmelo Flores Laura, who lives in a straw- roofed hut in the village of Frasquia near Lake Titicaca, was born on July 16th, 1890.
A supercentenarian is considered verified only if the claim has been validated by recognised international institutions such as the Gerontology Research Group or Guinness World Records.
FRASQUIA, Bolivia — Bolivian indigenous farmer Carmelo Flores, who could be the oldest person to have ever lived, attributes his longevity to quinoa grains, riverside mushrooms and around-the-clock chewing of coca leaves.
Speaking in the 4,000-meter high hamlet where he lives in a straw-roofed hut, Flores says the traditional Andean diet has kept him alive for 123 years.
"Potatoes with quinoa are delicious," said Flores in Aymara, the only language the nearly deaf man speaks.
It is impossible to verify Flores' age as the poor, landlocked South American country only started issuing official birth certificates in 1940.
But he says his baptism certificate lists his birthday as July 16, 1890 and he has national identity documents based on the certificate.
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Bolivia's Civil Registry Office says it is looking into the validity of the documents and cannot comment until the investigation is completed.
Still, many in Bolivia are already celebrating Flores' longevity. A local government official plans to award him the title of "Living Heritage of Humanity" on August 26.
The title of oldest human being ever to have lived belongs to France's Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 in 1997, according to the Guinness World Records organization. Guinness did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Flores.
While Flores is still strong enough to take daily walks in shoes made of recycled tires, he spends most of his time laying on a blanket watching village life go by.
Juan Karita, AP
Carmelo Flores Laura, a native Aymara, sits outside his home in the village of Frasquia, Bolivia, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.
But his life was not always as sedentary. Flores said he fought in the brutal 1932-35 Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay, and had to hunt skunks to nourish himself.
He also briefly lived in La Paz, 50 miles away, but never took to the bustling capital.
"My father told me that he felt like he was in jail, locked up with a key," said Flores' only living son Cecilio, 67, who cares for him. "He ... just wanted to return to his land."
Back in his village of Frasquia, Flores is something of a loner now that his generational peers have long since died.
"Everyone who lived here has already died, men and women, I am the only who is still alive. Even my wife died," he said.
"I don't know how long I shall live," he adds. "Only God knows. He'll tell me if I will die or keep living."
Used to be an old lady (definitely in her 80's) working in a small convenience store nearby. She's been gone for a couple weeks and I asked the new girl where she is. Apparently she traveled up-country to take care of her mother who had gotten sick! wow