Eva reaches an incredible milestone
11 October 2011
IRT In-Home Care client Eva McConnell is Australia’s oldest person.
When Eva was told the news about her incredible milestone, her response was quite simply “fancy that”.
Eva, who lives in Mollymook, celebrated her 110th birthday on 5 May 2011.
La Trobe University Health Sciences Senior Lecturer Dr John McCormack said last week that Eva was the oldest age-validated person in Australia. “The important thing is we have validated her age,” Dr McCormack said. “She’s the oldest person in Australia at this point that we know about.”
In his work Dr McCormack identifies and documents Australian centenarians and supercentenarians (individuals who have reached the age of 110) and has a list of Australians who are of a significant age. He attributes genes and environment to a person living a long life. “Usually there’s a history of longevity in the family, and usually the older you are the healthier you have been,” Dr McCormack said.
Eva became a supercentenarian in May this year when she turned 110. At 100 Eva was still chopping wood and at 101 she was living on her own and cooking for herself.
She then started living with her grandson in Mumbil, NSW during the winter and spent the summer months with her daughter Nola West-Newman in Mollymook.
However, about five years ago Eva decided to live with her daughter Nola and son-in-law John full-time.
Eva has been losing her sight and hearing but she still enjoys listening to music on occasion. However, she misses being able to play cards.
Nola said her mother had never smoked and during her life had the very occasional stout and lemonade. “Good hard work and plain tucker” is Eva’s secret to a long life, according to Nola. “She still has a good appetite,” Nola said.
Eva was born in 1901 and was one of 12 children. The family grew up on a farm at Burrendong, near Wellington in NSW.
She had six children and today has 13 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and 34 great-great-grandchildren.
Nola said most of her mother’s siblings lived into their 80s.
IRT provides Eva with an Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) package.
IRT In-Home Care Manager, Debbie Turnbull said she and her team were delighted to care for Eva, who has received assistance from IRT for two-and-a-half years.
Debbie said that caring for Eva had been a highlight in her career. “It has also been an invaluable experience for the staff,” Debbie said. “Eva's quick wit, modern demeanour, dignified presence and amazing agility have been an inspiration to us all. We are very excited to be a part of Eva's remarkable achievement, being Australia's oldest person.”
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