German great-grandmother celebrates 108th birthday with one guest

Mina Hehn celebrated her 108th birthday on Saturday in coronavirus style, with only one guest at her nursing home in the south-western German city of Stuttgart.

Her 82-year-old daughter, who baked traditional Carnival cakes for her, was the only one allowed in, while grandchildren and great-grandchildren could at least catch a glimpse of the birthday girl on the terrace of her room.

Her secret to old age and mental fitness? “I am good at doing without,” she said in the first interview of her life. No alcohol, no cigarettes, no chocolate, but a lot of work and walking.

Her grandchildren said they could learn a thing or two from their grandmother’s self-discipline. Mina said was a real Swabian: “First you have to work and when there is money, then you can scrape it together.”

Anyone who talks to the old lady inevitably has to do some mental arithmetic: She was already 5 years old when the Spanish flu spread in 1918. Now, at the end of her long life, there is another pandemic.

The old lady delayed moving into a home as long as she could. At the age of 105, she mostly still took care of herself in her own four walls.

When asked whether she is afraid of dying: “A little, yes. It’s something uncertain. But let’s wait and see, I’ll tell you then.”

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