American-Born Woman in Spain Is World's Oldest Person at 115: 'Very Old, But Not an Idiot'

María Branyas Morera was born in San Francisco in 1907 and moved to Spain in 1915, during World War I and shortly before the Spanish Flu epidemic, according to Guinness World Records

elderly hands
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An American-born Spaniard now holds the title for the world's oldest person.

María Branyas Morera, who was born in San Francisco in 1907 and lives in Catalonia, Spain, says she attributes her longevity to "an orderly life that is socially very pleasant," according to Guinness World Records.

"I think longevity is also about being lucky," she added. "Luck and good genetics."

Morera also has a sassy way of describing herself on Twitter — "I'm old, very old, but not an idiot," reads her bio — where she tweets her thoughts in Catalan with her daughter's help, according to Guinness.

"Life is not eternal for anyone," reads one of her translated tweets. "At my age, a new year is a gift, a humble celebration, a new adventure, a beautiful journey, a moment of happiness. Let's enjoy life together."

At 115 years and 328 days old as of Thursday, Morera assumed the record last week following the death of French nun Sister André, who was 118.

Morera and her family moved to Spain eight years after she was born. Her father contracted pulmonary tuberculosis towards the end of their trans-Atlantic voyage and died, according to Guinness. During the trip, María suffered a fall while playing with her brothers, which resulted in permanent hearing loss in one ear.

The journey was also altered by World War I, which meant their boat took a detour across the ocean.

"Because of the war, Germany was still attacking the North, and you couldn't go through the Nordic seas, but we could go further down, through the Azores and Cuba," she told Catalan News, about the ship's modified route.

The family settled in Barcelona in 1915, a few years before the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. Morera also lived through the Spanish Civil War in 1936, which left her with "very bad memories," she said, according to the outlet.

Morera was married to Spanish doctor Joan Moret for 40 years, and they share three children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, Guinness reports.

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She remains healthy today, her caretakers at Residència Santa María del Tura told Guinness, though she became the oldest person in the world to contract COVID-19 in 2020 at the age of 113. (Sister André later took that distinction after being diagnosed with the virus that causes illness.)

"She is in good health and continues to be surprised and grateful for the attention that this anniversary has generated," her residence said in a statement.

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