The oldest person in history: the extraordinary life of Jeanne Calment, who lived for 122 years

By Jurassic JennMar 25, 2024 20:34 PMPersonal Development
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The extraordinary life of Jeanne Calment, who lived for 122 years
The extraordinary life of Jeanne Calment, who lived for 122 years. Source: www.guinnessworldrecords.com

Born in Arles, France, on February 21, 1875, Jeanne Calman survived to become the oldest person in history, reaching the age of 122 years and 164 days when she died on August 4, 1997. SSPDaily tells about it.

This was reported by the Guinness Book of Records.

Her age was well documented during her lifetime: her birth certificate survived, and she was listed in 14 entries. It was claimed that there were several people older than Jeanne, but there was never enough evidence.

Married in 1896 to Fernand, who was a wealthy distant relative, Jeanne enjoyed life in high society in Arles.

She lived in a large apartment above Fernand's family fabric store, and she had servants to cook and clean for her.

Not needing to work, Jeanne spent her time pursuing hobbies such as fencing, hunting, mountaineering, swimming, tennis, roller skating, cycling, which she continued to do until she was 100, and music.

In 1898, at the age of 22, Jeanne gave birth to her only child, Yvonne Marie Nicole Calman, who gave birth to her only son, Frederic, in 1926.

Unfortunately, Jeanne's daughter and grandson died at relatively young ages: Yvonne died of pleurisy on her 36th birthday, and Frédéric died in a car accident at the age of 37, the same year as his father, Jeanne's son-in-law.

With no heirs, in 1965, 90-year-old Jeanne signed a "reverse mortgage" with a lawyer named Andre-François Raffre. In exchange for the ownership of her apartment, Raffre, then 47 years old, agreed to pay Jeanne 2,500 francs a month and allow her to live there until her death.

Little did he know that he had made a deal with someone who would go on to become the oldest registered person in history.Despite being almost twice as old as Raffre at the time of the deal, Jeanne outlived him. He died at the age of 77 in 1995, and until then Jeanne had been receiving payments more than twice the value of the apartment.

After Raffre's death, his family was obliged to continue paying, despite the fact that Jeanne had not lived in the apartment since 1985, having moved to a nursing home at the age of 110.

Jeanne reportedly attributed her amazing longevity to a diet rich in olive oil, which she also rubbed into her skin daily.

Although her diet was mostly healthy, she loved to indulge in chocolate, sometimes eating a kilogram a week, and always followed it up with dessert, a small glass of port, and a cigarette.

Jeanne smoked for almost a century - she started when she was 21 and stopped when she was 117 - because it became difficult to use a lighter due to her deteriorating eyesight.

Despite this habit, Jeanne remained healthy throughout her life and once declared on television that she had never been sick.She was sent to the hospital for heart failure at the age of 111 but was successfully treated, and later suffered from arthropathy but was again successfully treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.

In 1988, at the age of 112, Jeanne was recognized as the oldest living person in the world at that time, and two years later, at the age of 114, she appeared as herself in the film about Vincent van Gogh, Vincent and Mine, becoming the oldest actress in the world in history.

Jeanne claimed to have met the artist when she was a teenager working in her uncle's shop, and later recalled that he was "ugly as sin, had a nasty temper, and smelled of booze," although she said she forgave him for his behavior and bad habits.

Despite moving to a nursing home, Zhanna retained a high degree of independence. After waking up every day at 6:45 a.m. and praying, she would stretch in a chair, wash herself with flannel, and prepare fruit salads after breakfast.

The rest of her daily routine consisted of a two-hour nap in her chair, socializing with friends at the nursing home, eating dinner, and listening to music before going to bed at 10:00 pm. Every Friday she attended vespers and Mass on Sunday.

A month before her 115th birthday, Zhanna fell and broke her hip bone. After surgery, she had to use a wheelchair to get around and could no longer follow her daily routine.

In 1995, at the age of 120, Zhanna was recognized as the oldest person who had ever lived. She had a sharp mind, and her wit remained intact, as she demonstrated when asked by journalists what she expected the future to hold: "A very short one."

Jeanne died on August 4, 1997, at the age of 122 years and 164 days. According to Jean-Marie Robin, one of the sociologists who confirmed the record holder's age, despite the fact that her senses had deteriorated to the point where she was almost completely blind and deaf, she had been in good health for several months prior to her death.

For almost three decades, Jeanne has held the record for the oldest person in history and remains the only person to reach the age of 120.

However, given the increase in life expectancy around the world, her record may well be broken in the near future.

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