Meet the Newest Oldest American and Learn Her Secrets

Updated 7/30/15 3:12pm | Alert1 pays tribute to Gertrude Weaver who died April 6, 2015. Ms. Weaver’s inspiring legacy lives on as one of the oldest living persons. 

Meet Gertrude Weaver, the newest oldest American and this week’s Alert1 accomplished senior! On July 4th2014, Gertrude celebrated her 116thbirthday. She is now the oldest American as well as the second-oldest person in the world and the 11tholdest person of all time. Gertrude’s birthday was full of smiles and laughter as she celebrated, received her title, and gave out her secrets to longevity. Here at Alert1 medical alert systems, we want to help you live a long life full of happiness like Gertrude, the oldest person in the United States.


4th Fireworks. alert1 medical alert systems

Who is the oldest person?

The Gerontology Research Group, in consultation with the Guinness Book of World Records, keeps track of world-wide super-centenarians. They have dug deep into the records to determine who really the oldest living American is. There was close competition from recently deceased 116 year old Jeralean Talley, who was born in 1899. Robert Young, the senior consultant for Guinness, noted that “Normally, 116 would be old enough to be the world’s oldest person. There’s kind of heavy competition at the moment.” The oldest living person in the world is currently 117 year old Misao Okawa of Japan, who is a mere 2 months older than Gertrude.

When was the oldest person born?

Gertrude Weaver was born in southwest Arkansas near Texas. While Gertrude has no birth records, the 1900 Census lists Gertrude as being 2 years old. This puts her birth year as 1898, and she has always celebrated her birthday on July 4th. Further confirmation of her age is in her marriage certificate. She married at 17, and the certificate is dated 1915. She and her husband had four children. Her remaining son is now 93, and her granddaughter is 76.

How do you enjoy life after retirement?

Gertrude fills her time with fun senior activities. She enjoys weekly manicures, Bible studies, and concerts by local singers. She especially loves to wheelchair dance, and takes classes three times a week. Even though she stays in her wheelchair, she has a lot of fun exercising with dance. She also enjoys spending time with friends and her granddaughter who all visit her regularly.


wheelchair dance. alert1 medical alert systems

What are the secrets to longevity?

Gertrude defies her age. She does not suffer from any chronic health conditions. When she was 104 she suffered from a broken hip, but she went through rehabilitation and recovered from her injury. Gertrude’s story demonstrates the importance of being getting the care you need quickly. We recommend medical alert systems so that you have 24/7 access to personalized help.

What are Gertrude’s secrets to long life? She does not drink or smoke, and as she puts it, “I do my sleeping anytime.” But most importantly, she says the secret is: “Kindness. Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you. The Lord blessed me, I think, because I’m good to my family and good to my children and grandchildren. And I feed them.”  Throughout her life, Gertrude has been active in her faith, worked hard, and has given love and kindness to everyone she meets.

A benefit of being kind to everyone is the love you receive in return. Gertrude is regularly visited by her friends and her granddaughter Gradie Welch. Gradie says that Gertrude “is a loving and compassionate grandmother.” At her 4th of July birthday celebration she was lively, smiling and waving at her friends and newly acquired fans.

4th Fireworks. alert1 medical alert systems

How do you live to be 100?

According to TIME magazine, in the United Sates there are about 1 per 5,000 centenarians, and 1 per 5 million super-centenarians. The majority of centenarians are female. Why is this? One possibility is because of the 2 X-chromosomes. Women have two X-chromosomes, while men only have one. The extra genetic information provided by that X-chromosome may be the key to anti-aging.

How can you be like Gertrude? The first step is to have good genes. Super-centenarians are often remarkably healthy, avoiding many age-related diseases. Your propensity towards these diseases is inherited from your family, which we unfortunately cannot control. Luckily, we know much more about how to stave off the onset of disease with recent scientific developments.

Some key tips to living longer: be happy, exercise, keep your bones healthy, and get help fast when you have a medical emergency. Here at Alert1 medical alert systems, our specialty is helping you get help fast when you need it. Gertrude was able to get help after she broke her hip. Quick and effective treatment is crucial. You can recover only if you can get help in the first place. Medical alert systems are a perfect solution. Whether you are at home or on the go, you can get help at the push of a button. 

senior hands. alert1 medical alert systems

How do you live a long life?

Gertrude has obviously done things right. She is a great inspiration to us all. Even at her age, she is still out and about, enjoying life! When asked how it feels to be the oldest person in the United States right now, Gertrude said, “I don’t know. I’ve never been this before.” That’s the great thing about life: there are always new things to try! That could be making new friends, achieving a weightlifting goal, or receiving a new title. Take a page out of Gertrude’s book, and treat both yourself and others with kindness. Gertrude recommends trying your best at everything: “Just do what you can, and if we can’t, we can’t.”