So how did this story get started? The original press release issued about Lorna Page said nothing about an advance. It does say that she planned to use the proceeds from the book to buy a house and offer a home to her friends, but it never says she had that money in hand. Writer Beware attributes this factual slippage to sloppy reporting. That's undoubtedly true, but it seems to me there's also an element of wish fulfillment. Every one wanted Lorna Page to be a success at the age of 93, so that's what they took from the press release.
Maybe the publicity will drive up sales of her book and she'll actually be able to buy the house? How's that for wish fulfillment?