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Susannah Mushatt Jones, World's Oldest Person, Turns 116

Jones is one of only two surviving people born in the 1800s.

Michael Balsamo
Tuesday 07 July 2015 06:03 BST
Susannah Mushatt Jones, World's Oldest Person, Turns 116
Susannah Mushatt Jones, World's Oldest Person, Turns 116 (AP)

Happy birthday to Susannah Mushatt Jones who is now the world's oldest person, according to a statement from Guinness World Records.

Jones credits her longevity to “lots of sleep,” Guinness said. But her family members say she has lived a long life due to her love of family and generosity to others.

Jones was born in a small farm town near Montgomery, Ala., on July 6, 1899. She was one of 11 siblings and attended a special school for young black girls.

When she graduated from high school in 1922, Jones worked full time helping family members pick crops. She left after a year to begin working as a nanny, heading north to New Jersey and eventually making her way to New York.

“She adored kids,” Jones' niece, Lois Judge, told the Daily Record of her aunt, though Jones never had children of her own and was married for only a few years.

After she moved to New York, Jones worked with a group of her fellow high school graduates to start a scholarship fund for young African-American women to go to college. She was active in her public housing building's tenant patrol until she was 106.

Jones is blind because of glaucoma and also hard of hearing. However, she visits a doctor only once every four months and takes medication for high blood pressure and a multivitamin every day. Aside from that, she has had a clean bill of health for years, Judge said.

Jones, who wears a yellow turban on her head and a nightgown most days, spends her time in a public housing facility for seniors in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she has lived for more than three decades.

Jones keeps a steady diet of bacon, eggs and grits for breakfast. A sign in her kitchen reads: “Bacon makes everything better.”

She plans to celebrate the milestone with two parties — one with family on July 6 and another with her housing community and friends on July 7, according to Guinness.

The oldest person to have ever lived was also a woman, according to Guinness.Jeanne Calment from France lived to 122 years and 164 days. She died in 1997.

This story originally appeared on USA Today

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