Greece’s oldest woman, Irene Baroulaki, passed away at the ripe age of 119 on the evening of Tuesday (June 15, 2024).

The centenarian from Crete had spent her entire life in the small village of Paidochori, located in the municipality of Apokoronas in the Chania regional unit, northwest Crete.

The municipality of Apokoronas issued a statement on her passing, emphasizing the values she embodied and passed down to her children, who stood by her side until her last moments.

“With respect, we say goodbye to the oldest person in our country, Irene Baroulaki, who departed from earthly life at the age of 119. The deceased was born, raised a family, and lived her entire life in our Municipality, Paidochori, Apokoronas.

Her way of life and her virtues serve as examples for us and are worthy of imitation.

We express our condolences to her relatives, and may the soil of Apokoronas, which will receive her, be light.”

Some regions of Greece, with the tiny island of Ikaria – located in the Aegean Sea, 10 nautical miles southwest of Samos – standing out most prominently, have among the highest life expectancy rates in the world.

Ikaria is listed among the “Blue Zone” regions where people have the highest longevity rates, largely due to a healthy Mediterranean diet, similar to Crete, conducive to maintaining overall good health.

Today, Ikarians are almost entirely free of dementia and some of the chronic diseases that plague most living in other Americans; one in three make it to their 90s. A combination of factors explains it, including geography, culture, diet, lifestyle and outlook.