Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What the Very Elderly all have in common

Oldest African-American dies at 113
(CNN) -- Mississippi Winn didn't get caught up in the amazing statistics that accompanied someone her age.

Only 1 in 5 million people in the industrialized world live to be 110. About 60 people that age live in the United States, with another 300 or so scattered around the globe. Nine of 10 are women.

Winn was believed to be the oldest living African-American when she died Friday afternoon in Shreveport, Louisiana, at 113.

Investigator Milton Carroll of the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office said he was not permitted to disclose a cause of death, but a relative said Winn -- who was nicknamed "Sweetie" -- had been in declining health since last autumn.

Robert Young, a senior claims researcher with the Gerontology Research Group and a senior consultant for Guinness World Records, visited Winn at Magnolia Manor Nursing Home in July 2010.


Winn, who did not marry and lived independently until 103, appears to have lived a life that made her especially well-qualified for the elite club of supercentenarians -- those who live to be 110 or older.

"She had always been kind to others," Hollins said on Saturday. "She was always respectful."


The secret to living to and past 110, besides not having an unhealthy weight, said Young, is a positive attitude and emotional and physical stability. Most supercentenarians take little medication during their lives, he said.

"They do things in moderation," he said. "They don't get upset."

Most were still walking at age 105, he added.


Winn was clear about what she liked.

"She was a disciplinarian," said Hollins. Right or wrong, it was her way."

A member of Avenue Baptist Church, Winn received visits from church members and was able to attend a service on August 29. The chuch will hold her funeral next Saturday.

She outlived many of her church friends.

"When each one passed I could see part of her leaving with them," said Hollins, whose grandmother was Winn's sister.

In time, Winn came to enjoy the attention paid to her age.

But she remained even-keeled, said Hollins, recalling what her great-aunt would say.

"I'm just going to stay here until he's ready for me."

The oldest known African-American is now Mamie Rearden of Edgefield, South Carolina, who is 112.

The world's oldest known living person is Eunice Sanborn, 114, of Jacksonville, Texas, according to Young.

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