Jun 29, 2021

Couples living in aged care share their secrets to a happy marriage

Today we bring you the stories of two couples who have each been together for over half a century and are now living together contentedly in residential aged care. 

HelloCare asked the couples about their lives now, what they enjoy doing and what they appreciate about each other, and most importantly, what is the secret to a long and happy union.

John and Mona

John and Mona moved into Opal Armadale residential aged care facility around two-and-half years ago, and recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary, an extraordinary achievement and a milestone worth celebrating in style.

Mona told us about the couple’s first meeting.

“Well, John came to a dance lesson that I was teaching at. He wanted to learn the foxtrot, so I was the one to teach him. 

John and Mona celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary.


“After that first meeting John would catch the bus every day travelling back and forth – originally for dance lessons, but then just to spend time with me. It was wonderful,” she said.

John admitted, “It was love at first sight, absolutely. I knew she was the one.”

“Well yes, he was always very special,” Mona replied. 

The couple now live together at Opal Armadale, and still enjoy dancing together, although at a slightly slower pace. 

“We love going to happy hour. The performers are great and we still have a little wheelchair dance together. 

“We are really happy that we still get to be together and are enjoying each other and our lives.” 

Their secret to a successful marriage?

“You have to learn to give and take. No one is the boss. We work together as a team and just be patient with each other.

“We make a conscious choice each day to be happy and just enjoy life.”

John and Mona as a young couple in their dancing days.

Ray and Margaret 

Ray and Margaret were married in Canley Vale, NSW, on 23 February 1957, making this year their 64th wedding anniversary. 

The two grew up living across the road from each other, and Ray was friends with Margaret’s brothers.

Margaret and Ray Brailey, who this month celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.
Margaret and Ray Brailey, who this month celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.


Though the two knew each other, it wasn’t until Ray went away with the Air Force that he proposed to Margaret. He wrote to her asking for her hand in marriage. The answer was ‘yes’ and the happy couple were married a year later. 

Ray wrote love letters to Margaret regularly, and continued to buy flowers for her every Friday for years.

When Margaret’s care needs increased in 2017, she moved into Vietnam Veterans Keith Payne VC Hostel.

Ray had been on the board of the facility for 19 years, so the choice of facility was easy for the couple.

Ray continued as a board director until 2019, when he retired and moved into a room at the hostel, too.

Though Ray and Margaret would love to be able to share a bigger room together, they are thankful that they have been able to move into rooms just a couple of doors away from each other in the same aged care facility. They understand it is difficult to find joint rooms in aged care. 

They are both happy at the hostel, and Ray is especially proud of the facility and how far it has come.

What is their secret to such a successful marriage?

Both Ray and Margaret believe arguing won’t solve anything, so it’s best to listen to each other and work on problems together.

“Always talk things out,” says Ray.

“Just get on with it and don’t hold grudges,” advised Margaret.

Ray and Margaret on their wedding day.
Ray and Margaret on their wedding day.

All images supplied.

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