THE oldest woman in Spain has celebrated her 115th birthday.
Cordoba-born Ana Vela Rubio is only one year younger than Italian Emma Mornao, Europe’s oldest person, and is described as not looking her age by staff at her nursing home.
Born on October 30 1901, Rubio moved to Barcelona in the 1940s to make it as a dressmaker.
She lives in La Verneda people’s home near the city and close to her daughter, who is 89.
“She doesn’t look 115. We have residents a lot younger who look older than Ana does,” revealed David González, director of the La Verneda home.
“Although she’s very special to us, we don’t treat her as a 115-year-old lady; we treat her as one of the group.
“She’s always been a super-friendly, super-affectionate and very optimistic person – perhaps that’s the secret to her long life.
“And she’s very physically strong, which has helped her get through the deaths of three of her four children, and of her brothers and sisters – the last of whom died this year.”
Vela broke the Spanish record of years lived when she reached 114 years and 221 days, surpassing the record of Maria Antonia Castro, an Andalucian who died twenty years ago.
The Mediterranean diet and traditionally slower pace of life is said to help Spain have one of the highest life expectancies in the world.