If I had one word to describe 107-year-old Anna Del Priore, it would be “survivor.” Over a century ago, she caught the Spanish Flu as a six-year-old girl and beat it. Recently, she triumphed over another hurdle: COVID-19. Now back to her usual self, this tough woman is looking forward to turning a year older next month!
Back in May, Del Priore’s granddaughter, Darlene Jasmine, 66, received terrible news about her grandma. Brighton Gardens, her nursing home in Middletown, New Jersey, informed her that Del Priore had been infected with COVID-19. Given her age, Jasmine feared the virus would be the end of her.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is it,'” she recalled. “This is the thing that’s going to take her down.”
But Del Priore proved to everyone that she was stronger than COVID-19. When she fell ill, she had a fever and didn’t eat that much, but she didn’t need a respirator. The home didn’t even need to take her to the hospital. Now, she’s back to doing her regular activities as if nothing had happened! This virus couldn’t stop Del Priore from swimming and dancing – two things she loves doing.
“I feel good,” she said. “I thank God I’m alive.”
Jasmine and their family couldn’t be happier upon hearing the great news.
“I was excited when she came out of it, but I mean, that’s her. She doesn’t let anything get her down. She went through the Spanish flu and got over that. She loves life and she probably had in her mind that this wasn’t the end,” she said.
Jasmine called her recovery a “miracle,” but recognizes that her grandma’s healthy choices helped immensely. She says Del Priore was “constantly moving” and kept her diet clean.
“We always walked in Brooklyn — to the grocery store, to the bakery. Every night she would make a homemade meal from scratch. All Mediterranean food — olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts. It’s like the old peasant food that now they charge you so much for,” she said.
Until she turned 100, Del Priore also used to walk over a mile every day to meet with her pals for a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.
Jasmine also said she “doesn’t sweat the small stuff.”
The centenarian was born in 1912 – the year Titanic sank. Six years later, she would come down with the Spanish Flu of 1918 and survive it. Del Priore grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she lived with her two deaf parents and five siblings. She grew up to become a seamstress and met her late husband, Frank Del Priore, a professional tango dancer, and the pair danced together all the time.
Jasmine said they would tango and perform at different places in New York and in Coney Island at the big dance hall. To this day, Del Priore is still passionate about dancing, and she has no plans of slowing down.
“You keep living,” she said. “Dancing makes you feel good. I want to keep my health.”
It seems like longevity runs in the family. Del Priore’s younger sister, 105-year-old Helen Guzzone of Queens, New York, also survived both the coronavirus and the Spanish Flu. It’s safe to say that these siblings are real fighters!
According to Laura Halle, Del Priore’s health care coordinator at Brighton Gardens, she lives in the moment and doesn’t think much about her age. For that, she considers the woman an inspiration.
“She is a true inspiration to me and many others. She is extremely sweet, and has such compassion for others. She is always laughing and finds joy when she can make you laugh,” she said.
And for anyone who wants to live as long as she has, Del Priore’s advice is simple: “Be good to others, keep good friends, be honest, love God — and I eat lots of hot peppers!”
It’s incredible what a happy mindset, a healthy body, and a good relationship with other people can do. Cheers to beating COVID-19, Mrs. Del Priore!
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