SAO PAULO, Brazil – An elderly woman living in a small, wooden shack in rural southern Brazil could be the world’s oldest living woman, according to a Brazilian record-keeping organization.
Maria Olivia da Silva, who recently celebrated her 125th birthday, “is definitely the oldest living woman in Brazil and possibly in the entire world,” said Iolete Cadari, administrative director of RankBrasil, this country’s equivalent to the Guinness World Records.
Da Silva’s birth certificate shows that she was born Feb. 28, 1880, in the city of Itapetininga, Sao Paulo state, Cadari said by telephone. She currently lives in the small town of Astorga, some 370 miles west of Sao Paulo in the state of Parana.
Laura McTurk, a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records in London, said by e-mail that the organization was researching its records for any information on da Silva. She said Guinness may have an official statement soon. According to the Guinness World Records Web site, the world’s oldest woman is 113-year-old Hendrikje Van Andel-Schipper, who was born June 29, 1890.
Da Silva, whom Cadari described as “mentally sound and rational,” was married twice and has outlived all but three of her 14 children – four of them adopted.
“Her memory is impressive and she loves to talk,” Cadari said, adding that da Silva lives with her 58-year-old adopted son, Aparecido H. Silva.