In Oklahoma, 74-year-old Dollie Grissom has Down syndrome and is currently the oldest woman alive known to have the condition. Grissom is one of nine children and her family visits her several times a week at Chickasha Nursing Center. Her sister, Marilyn Crossen said, “This is home so we just come to her. I wouldn’t take her out of here for anything.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, the life expectancy of someone with Down’s has increased exponentially since the 1900’s. In 1910, a person born with the condition was expected to live to age ten but now they are expected to live to age 60.
The Social Services Director at Chickasha Nursing Center, Shari Brunt, said Grissom has a daily schedule and has done the same thing for about 47 years. She explained, “She wakes up when she gets ready to wake up. We bring her breakfast, usually pancakes. She will sit around and listen to her radio. And around lunchtime Crossen usually shows up with Dollie’s favorite – chicken and a shake from Braum’s. Once that’s all gone, Dollie will spend the day with her dolls.”
Additionally, Brunt said that Grissom is a kid at heart and sees her dolls as her babies. She said, “She takes care of her babies. She plays with them. She scolds them. They get in trouble sometimes, but she loves her babies.” Oklahoma Nine News reports that Grissom’s family thanks her every day routine for her long life and believes she will be around for years to come. Right now, the Guinness Book of World Records is considering Grissom for the title of oldest woman with Down syndrome.
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There were easily three-dozen stuffed animals and dolls in her room at the center when we visited. Brunt said Dollie also likes to drink Cokes and play in the shower. She’s a kid at heart. But it’s this routine that her family credits with keeping her around much longer than the average person with the condition.
“I did searches on the Internet and I made phone calls,” she said. She contacted the Guinness Book of World Records and they told her of a woman in the UK, who was also 74, with Down syndrome. But Brunt has learned she has since passed away, meaning Dollie might hold the title. And with a fading memory and weak vision being her only health battles, her family hopes she’ll fight to keep these visits going far into the future.
“I’ll do it for another ten years if she’ll stay,” Crossen said about her sister. Brunt is waiting for Guinness World Records officials to get back with her about Dollie replacing the other 74 year old in the book. Dollie’s story has reached people from all over. Brunt said the Nursing Center is getting calls from reporters nationwide. No one has yet to come forward to contest her spot as the oldest woman with Down syndrome.
Watch the video below to learn more about Grissom’s happy life at Chickasaw Nursing Home.