NEW YORK – Susannah Mushatt Jones, the oldest person in the world, is having her 116th birthday this Monday and hopes to celebrate the landmark occasion in the intimacy of her family and, if she feels up to it, with a public event the next day in her Brooklyn housing community.
Guinness World Records said Monday that the lady, who is blind and hard of hearing, received a certificate dated last Friday confirming her to be the world’s oldest person.
Jones plans to meet this Monday with members of her numerous family to celebrate her birthday, and on Tuesday is invited to a public celebration with friends, neighbors and officials of the neighborhood, an event about which no details have yet been revealed.
Jones, an African American born July 6, 1899 in Lowndes County, Alabama, moved to New Jersey in 1922 and a year later to New York. She had 10 brothers and sisters, all deceased, and still has about 100 nieces and nephews.
In New York she earned her livelihood as a live-in housemaid and nanny.
The elderly lady became the world’s longest-living person following the death of another American, Jeralean Talley, who lived in Detroit. Talley reached the age of 116 years and 25 days.
The Brooklyn resident, known as “Miss Susie,” received the Guinness World Records certificate Friday at home in a wheelchair, wearing a white jacket, black dress and matching hat, the organization said Monday.
According to the note, Jones takes only two medicines a day and, when asked the secret of her longevity, she replied “Sleep!”
When she turned 106 and received recognition from New York authorities, Susannah said that to have a long life “I never drink or smoke,” but rather “I surround myself with love and positive energy. That’s the key to long life and happiness.”
According to the U.S. Gerontology Research Group, which verified the woman’s date of birth, few people have ever lived longer.
The provisional record is held by Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in August 1997 at age 122.
“Miss Susie” is only a few months ahead of the second-oldest person, Emma Morano-Martinuzzi of Italy, who was born Nov. 29, 1899.