Ask Lucia DeClerck how she lived to be 105, and she’s in a hurry.
“Prayer. Prayer Prayer, ”he suggests. “One step at a time. No unhealthy food. “
But surviving the coronavirus, he said, may have something to do with something else. Nine golden raisins soaked in gin, which he ate every morning for most of his life.
“Fill the jar,” he explained. “Nine raisins, one day after sitting for nine days.”
Her children and grandchildren remember the ritual as one of DeClerk’s lifelong lovely habits, such as drinking aloe juice directly from a container and brushing his teeth with baking soda. (It also worked. Relatives said he had no cavities until he was 99.)
“We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing?’ You’re crazy, “said Shawn Laws O’Neil, his 53-year-old granddaughter from Los Angeles. “It simply came to our notice then. He overcame everything that happened on his way. ”
This is a long list. He was born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents from Guatemala, Spain. He lived with the Spanish flu and the death of three spouses during World War II.
He moved to Wyoming, California, and returned to Hawaii before finally arriving in New Jersey, where he lived with his eldest son. At the age of 90, he moved to an adult community in the town of Manahawkin, Naha ersey, along the coast of Ersey, where he remained active until he injured himself about four years ago.
“He is just an embodiment of perseverance,” O’Neill said. “It simply came to our notice then. As a child, he would remember things I did not even remember. ”
DeClerck, the oldest resident of a nursing home in South Ersey County, learned he contracted the virus on his 105th birthday on Jan. 25, a day after receiving his second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to Michael Neiman, home administrator.
At first he said he was scared. He did not like to be isolated, he missed the daily chatter from the caregivers’ parade at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, which had 120 beds in Little Eg Harbor.
He showed some symptoms, Neiman said. And within two weeks, he was back in his room holding his crown beads, wearing his brand of sunglasses and a knitted hat.
To her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren և 11 great-grandchildren, who call her Grandma Lucia, she has a new monitor, O’Neill said.
On Monday, he received a shout from Governor Phil Murphy, who described the phone call to him during a coronavirus news briefing.
“What an uplifting conversation,” said the governor.
The DeClerck family gathered at Mystic Meadows in January 2020 to celebrate its 104th anniversary before the outbreak. When they found out he was infected with the virus, they became worse off.
“We were very concerned,” said his son, 78-year-old Philip Lowes.
“But he has a stubbornness that is unbelievable,” he added. “And he has that rite constantly.”
The devout Catholic DeClerk held temple services at the nursing home every week և before the epidemic, it was part of the weekly liturgy.
She raised three sons and ran a corner store with her first husband, Henry Law Jr., in Los Angeles for decades. After returning to Hawaii, she remarried, where she worked as a home health care provider, accepting grandchildren for summer visits.
DeClerck is one of 62 Mystic Meadows residents infected with the virus. Four patients died, including three who were receiving hospital care, Neiman said.
“We are as careful as possible,” he said, “but this is a way to steal.”
Residents were screened twice a week in January, and a quick examination last week showed DeClerk was infected with the virus.
“At first he was a little scared, a little scared, but he said, ‘God will protect me,'” Neiman said.
He was also vaccinated, which probably helped him recover. The first study of the British mass immunization program on Monday showed strong evidence that even a single dose of the vaccine can help cut out hospitalization for coronavirus.
DeClerck is not the oldest person to have overcome the virus.
The oldest known resident of Europe, Sister Andre, became infected in 116. Earlier this month, he celebrated his 117th birthday with a glass of champagne at a nursing home in the southeastern French city of Toulon.
Like Sister Andre, De Klerk can be ready toast.
But it will most likely include gin and a handful of golden raisins. His family is following suit.
“Now we’re all in a hurry to get out and buy Mason jars of ‘yellow raisins’ trying to get there,” O’Neill said.