Åkerlind was born as Hertha Elisabet Schillander in Örebro Nikolai, a municipality of Sweden’s Örebro County, as one of three daughters born to Bernhard and Jenny Schillander. As a child, she moved with her family to Stockholm. Throughout her life, she participated in various cultural activities, including the theatre, orienteering, and reading frequently.
At the age of 28, Åkerlind met her future husband. They later married and had two daughters, Kerstin and Gunilla. The couple built a house in a southern suburb of Stockholm and raised their daughters there. Åkerlind worked as Sveriges Riksbank until her retirement. She still enjoyed keeping active in her later years.
Åkerlind lived independently in her home until she was 101 years old, when she moved into a Stockholm nursing home. She became the oldest Stockholm resident on 26 May 2017 aged 109, after the death of Nanny Halvardsson, and later became the oldest living woman in Sweden on 28 March 2018 following the death of Alice Östlund.
Åkerlind died on 10 July 2018 at the age of 110 years, 73 days. She was survived by her two daughters, as well as an unreported number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. She was never the oldest person in Sweden, as Carl Mattsson was older and outlived her.