Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
An allegedly 121-year-old woman has been ‘discovered’ after medics were called in to treat her – and it is now believed she may be the world’s oldest living person.
Elderly Maria Gomes dos Reis was found by authorities in Bom Jesus da Lapa, north-eastern Brazil, after she fell ill and was visited by paramedics.
According to her birth certificate, she was born in the village of Bela Vista, in the municipality of Bom Jesus da Lapa, on 16th June 1900. She lives there to this day.
The bed-bound pensioner lives with her granddaughter Celia Cristina, as all her own children have already passed away.
Celia told local media: “I put food in her mouth, we have to do everything, change her underwear. My life is summed up by my taking care of her.”
Celia said her grandma was spritely before she became bed-bound just over eight years ago.
She said: “She raised her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She took care of everything. She was really active until recently, she cooked, washed clothes.”
Guinness World Records says the world’s oldest living person is Frenchwoman Lucile Randon, who was born on 11th February 1904 and is 118 years old.
The title passed on to her following the death of 119-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan on 19th April.
Celia said of her grandmother: “We know she’s advanced in age, but to find out she’s the oldest person in the world? We’re amazed.”
Maria has 13 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren, and her family hopes she will live to see her first great-great-great-grandchild.
Her great-granddaughter Vitoria Stefani said: “She is still aware of many things, she talks to us, but now she fails to remember things more and more often.”
Her other great-granddaughter Ivanilde Gomes, who moved in with her when she was just six, said: “I never lacked anything, and she always said the same phrase, which I always keep with me: ‘Go study, girl.’
“If today I manage to graduate, it is thanks to the encouragement I got from my great-grandma.”
Brazil has recently been hitting headlines for its centenarian citizens, such as Francisca Celsa dos Santos, who died on 5th October last year aged 116, or Epifania Maria de Jesus Mendes, who got her fourth tattoo as a 105th birthday gift.
It is unclear if Maria’s family intends to get in touch with Guinness World Records.