Khrystyna Nahorna. Photo: siver.com.ua
Article by: Alya Shandra
Ukraine’s oldest woman Khrystyna Nahorna turned 117 years old on 1 July 2017. She is the oldest living person in Ukraine and could well be the world’s second-oldest living person, although she is absent in the list of oldest living people of the Gerontology Research Group, which keeps track of the oldest humans on the planet.
Khrystyna Nahorna lives in the village of Zhadove of the Chernihiv Oblast, located in northern Ukraine, where she was born and lived her whole life. After the early death of her mother, she lived with a stepmother. Having divorced her first husband, she brought up a daughter by herself (the daughter died in 2000). Her second husband was killed in World War II. Her 69-year old grandson lives in Moscow, and there are a few great-grandsons. Through all her grown life Khrystyna worked on the village’s collective farm. But she remembers the times before they were formed as part of the Soviet collectivization measures – prior to 1917, she worked for the local landowners. In those years, she recalls, a part of the villagers in Zhadov rebelled against the forced collectivization. She also remembers the events of the Holodomor famine.
Ms. Nahorna kept her own cow up till the age of 100 years and rabbits and a pig up till 110. Now all the work in the garden and house is done by social workers, and a few years back she lost her vision and now misses sewing and knitting. But her hearing is still excellent.
The exact date of her birth is unknown – the parish book with the record of her birth date did not survive. All the children born in the village in 1990 were written down as being born on 1 July. So 1 July is her “relative” birthday. But all the other long-livers in the village confirmed her age, so if there is a mistake, it’s insignificant.
Khrystyna Nahorna is officially the oldest woman in Ukraine. In March 2017, the 116-year old woman became part of the National Book of Records of Ukraine. She was congratulated on her birthday by the local district administration of Semenivka (photos below – the National Book of Records of Ukraine diploma is on the bottom right).
The local ambulatory nurse informed that Ms.Nahorna is a remarkably healthy woman who at most gets a cold once a year, has no hypertension, arthritis, or other pains. But the long-liver doesn’t have any secrets to share, saying that she just “lives to her fancy.” However, her caregiver Alla Semianova says that the woman observes the long Orthodox fasts where no meat, eggs, or milk can be consumed, and generally lived a moderate life. Apart from that, she has a reputation for being the local medicine woman and “whispers away” illnesses of the local residents. But in a conversation with a local TV station, Khrystyna Nahorna did give some advice on attaining longevity to the viewers. According to her, relations with other people are of primary importance; one must “honor” other people.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, the oldest person in the world currently is Violet Brown from Jamaica. She is also 117 years old, born on 10 March 1900. The second oldest is Nabi Tajima from Japan, who is 116 with a birthday on 4 August 1990. Euromaidan Press will reach out to GRG to inquire why Nahorna is not part of the list.