World’s oldest person sprightly until the end

TOKYO, Aug 14, 2007 (AFP) – The world’s oldest person Yone Minagawa, who has died at age 114, was as sprightly as ever until the moment she got into bed for her eternal rest, her caretaker said Tuesday. Minagawa, who enjoyed good food and a bit of alcohol, died Monday at a nursing home in Japan’s southwestern Fukuoka prefecture.

“She was sprightly until a day before,” the caretaker told AFP. “When I found her, she looked as if she was sleeping peacefully.”
Born on January 4, 1893, Minagawa was widowed at an early age. She raised her five children by selling flowers and vegetables in a coal mining town.

Stout-hearted even after age 100, Minagawa would drink some Japanese sake or other alcoholic beverage every day.

But in recent years, her favourite treat became manju, a Japanese confection made of red bean paste.

“She would tell me, ‘arigato, thank you,'” saying the phrase both in Japanese and English, the caretaker said. “That was her habit.”

“She was very charming,” said the caretaker, who declined to give her name.

Despite her advanced age, Minagawa was said to enjoy eating sweets and counted eating well and getting a good night’s sleep as the secrets of her longevity.