Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 27 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Augustine of Canterbury
Aleteia logo
Inspiring Stories
separateurCreated with Sketch.

At 97, grandma shares the secret of her long and joyful life


Instagram Shelby Hoefling

Social media influencer Shelby Hoefling has a great time with her "Nanny"

Dolors Massot - published on 06/30/23

Shelby Hoefling asked the elderly woman, who is clearly full of vitality and joy, her secret to living to 97. Their conversation went viral.

What’s the secret to staying young in spirit and making it to almost a century? Instagrammer and Tiktoker Shelby Hoefling provides an important clue in one of her videos.

The interview

Earlier this year, she asked her grandmother (whom she calls Nanny) while recording with her cell phone, “How do you do you think you’ve lived to be 97? Like, how do you think you made it this many years?” “I don’t know, I don’t know,” the elderly woman replies.

The video shows us Nanny, looking quite fashionable, standing outside and savoring an ice cream with obvious pleasure. Meanwhile, she looks at her granddaughter (who is behind the camera) with bright and joyful eyes.

The elderly woman repeats, “I don’t know,” maybe because she herself is surprised to have reached such a significant age. “Because I’m naughty,” she says. “I eat sugar, I eat butter, I eat things that I should not eat and I have all my life!” she admits.

Her Instagrammer granddaughter is aware that there’s more to the story and wants her grandmother to say it on camera for her nearly 30k followers. That’s why she insists:

“Well, what do you think is the secret? I know, people ask me and I tell them that you… You pray a lot, you have faith…”

Nanny nods: “I do have faith, yes…” (and continues eating the ice cream). And she adds, “…I cannot end my day without being grateful. I’d never take anything for granted.”

Her granddaughter reaffirms the idea: “So that’s probably the secret. That’s how you’ve lived to be 97.” But again her grandmother replies, “I don’t know…”

Hoefling continues with conviction, “Because you never end your day without being grateful. (…) You have a lot of gratitude in your heart.”

“Yes, I do. Really,” her grandmother admits.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by BVIRAL (@bviral)

Kids and grandparents should connect

In 2019, Shelby publisheda book, Grandma’s in the Phone!, that’s a love song to the relationship between grandparents and their grandkids. Mac, the main character, is a child who connects with his grandma through video chats.

“I firmly believe that it is extremely important that young children and grandparents connect and maintain a strong relationship even when they are not physically together!” explains Shelby on the book’s page on Amazon.

Intergenerational relationships can invigorate and energize older adults as well as help reduce the likelihood of depression and loneliness. The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is one of the most precious relationships and is mutually beneficial when it comes to the health and well-being of both.

Keeping in touch and maintaining joy

The book was written “to inspire and teach children and grandparents how to connect and have quality conversations and interactions through video calls.” In addition, her Instagram and TikTok profiles, in which she often records herself with her grandmother, highlight how fond she is of her Nanny and how the two enjoy their relationship.

In fact, the grandmother — who has now reached the age of 98 — plays an important part in the charm of Shelby’s profile. We saw that charm in action when someone sent the Instagrammer a gift box … for Nanny! That day there was a live unboxing. Nanny’s happiness and feelings of tenderness are clear on her face:


When you’re 98 and you don’t know you’re an influencer 🥹😅 @Mrs. Bakewell’s thank you!!!!

♬ original sound – Shelby Hoefling

ElderlyFamilyInspiring stories
Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.