Oldest Person Ever: Jeanne Calment

Jeanne Calment died on  August 4th, 1997.  At age 122 years, she was the oldest known human in history whose date of birth could be validated.

Though almost blind and deaf, she was considered to be in otherwise “good health” up to a month before she died.

She was born, lived, and died in France.  She was married in 1896 to a man who had enough income to allow Calment to not have to work.  She engaged in physical activity including tennis, roller skating, bicylcing, and swimming.  In fact she rode her bicylce up to age 100.

It wasn’t until age 110 that she became too frail to live independently and had  to move into a nursing home.

She was well known for a tart wit and sharp personality.  Her longevity was attributable to what appeared to be immunity to stress – nothing seemed to bother or worry her.  ”If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it,” she was noted to say.

Calment herself never did anything particularly to stay in good health though she considered laughter very important.  She actually credited an occasional glass of port wine and a diet rich in olive oil to her longevity.

Surprisingly she was said to eat two pounds of chocolate of week and even more stunningly was noted to smoke up until age 119.

In a characteristic quote reflecting her neverending sense of humor, she was asked at her 120th birthday what kind of future she expected.

“A very short one,” she replied.

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