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VMCH Resident’s Story: Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate enduring love

2 min read

VMCH believes that Valentine’s Day is often a time to reflect on our relationships. This doesn’t only apply to those who are young and in love – but also to those who are young at heart, and still as in love as ever.

Lionel and Marie Rozario live at VMCH John R Hannah Aged Care Residence, Mulgrave, and recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

The couple were married on 27 December 1961, before migrating from Malaysia to Australia in 1970 to give their young family a better life. Both were primary school teachers, who loved their family more than anything. They raised their three children Gwen, Gordon and Vernon while living in various suburbs of Melbourne.

After some time, Marie struggled to care for Lionel in their own home as he became legally blind and was diagnosed with vascular dementia. They moved into John R Hannah in April 2015. Now, Lionel is the musician, playing the keyboard, piano accordion, saxophone and more, and brings along his percussion instruments to share with the other residents. Marie loves bingo, trivia, bus outings and any occasion where she can get dressed up.

Lionel and Marie have very different care needs but still remain together, just a few rooms apart from each other. Marie always checks in on Lionel just before she goes to bed to ensure he is comfortable and tucked in for the night.

Their daughter, Gwen, says that her parents show that old age and advancing dementia don’t diminish the humanity, the personhood, or the value of people.

“It shows how deeply the elderly matter. For mum and dad, it is a remarkable story of love and how the most essential part of us is to love. I look at their photos and there it is, in a beautiful, poignant way.

“Their deep personal connection is not lost. Rather, the shackles are broken off, and yes, other parts of them have been stripped away. But their love for each other goes on and on.”

About VMCH:

Here at VMCH, our services are as diverse as the people we support.

Our values underpin the work we do. As a Catholic not for profit organisation, compassion, respect and inclusion aren’t just words to us, they guide us in everything we do.

While we’ve been around for over a century, we’re always moving forward. We stay true to who we are by supporting people and families to live their best lives, providing a place to call home and spaces to learn and grow.

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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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