Bessie Hendricks passed away at a nursing home in Lake City, Iowa, on Tuesday. She was born on November 7, 1907, and was a teacher at a one-room schoolhouse. She was also the mother of five children and was married to Paul Hendricks for almost 65 years when he died on May 25, 1995.
She previously told The Messenger her thoughts on how to live for a long time. When she turned 110, she said, “[h]ard work.” Her daughter, Glenda Hendricks, said her mother says to “[s]tay away from doctors.” Her son added that she “loves her sweets.”
Edie Ceccarelli, who is going to turn 115 on February 5, is now the oldest person in America. Branyas Morera, a woman who is set to turn 116 years old in March, is thought to be the oldest American alive, although she lives in Spain.
“But for some rare exceptions, centenarians have just as many disease-associated genetic variants as the average population,” the site added. “Thus, their genetic advantage is likely due to variants that slow aging and decrease risk for aging-related diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.”
The United States had 97,000 centenarians — people who have lived to be 100 years old — the World Economic Forum reported in 2021. Japan recently saw the number of centenarians in the country increase. As of September of last year, there were 90,526 centenarians in the country. The oldest woman in the world is Lucile Randon, 118 years old, according to the Guinness World Records, as of April of last year.
As of last July, the United States reportedly had 29 centenarians per 100,000 people, which put it at eleventh place.
Peter Martin, a professor at Iowa State who focuses on longevity, said many different pieces play into whether or not someone lives a long time.
“After 115 it gets very difficult,” he said, per USA Today. “Every year is really a gift that you get that you could not have expected to get.”
“She amazes us,” Sara Casey, Shady Oaks Care Center administrator, said several years ago of Hendricks, who lived at the center in the final years of her life. “A strong will and love of family keep Bessie going. She appreciates life so much.”