Love is in the air at the RFBI Kurri Kurri Masonic Village.
As part of its focus on positive ageing this year, the Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution has rolled out a series of love-themed activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day across its 21 villages in NSW and the ACT.
The Kurri Kurri residents have sat down together to fill out ‘Love Is’ cards, exploring what love means to them and then pinning the cards up on the walls for all residents, staff and visitors to read the themes and interests.
Village resident Fred Norcup and his late wife Evelyn were married for more than 70 years.
Fred, 94, said the secret to a successful marriage is being able to face good and bad times together.
“Especially the bad, because the bad things are what tests true love,” he said.
Jo and Bill Close have been married for 65 years.
Jo, a country girl from Simsville near Stroud, met Bill, a Kurri Kurri boy, at a dance in Maitland.
They married at the Kurri Kurri Congregational Church on December 12, 1952, and have since had two children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Jo has lived at the Masonic village for three years and Bill visits her every day.
The couple says love means looking after each other, being there for each other and not hurting one another.
Village resident Barry McAlister and his wife Helen have been married for over 50 years. Love means caring for one another, they say.
“No matter how old you are, you don’t stop loving one another,” Helen said.
The Kurri Masonic Village residents will be treated to a concert of love songs on Valentine’s Day.
RFBI CEO Frank Price said the organisation is focused on person-centred care.
“We have now extended our thinking into the positive ageing space to showcase our villages as happy communities within the community and Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to explore the universal theme of love and what love means to our residents,” he said.
“The unifying message of love is something that resonates with everybody and highlighting definitions of love can promote conversations between residents, staff, families and the neighbourhood.
“It’s about seeing people for who they are, not what age they are and hence the search for everyone’s cherished Valentine memories and love lessons, creates an effective way of celebrating what love means to everybody.
“We have many couples in our villages who will be able to celebrate their love for each other; for other residents it will be the celebration of their family and friendships or it may be their love of religion, music or our village pets.”