Leone and George Aiken celebrated 60 years of marriage in January 2020. Here, Leone shares her tips for a long and happy marriage and how Home Nursing Group (HNG) offer reassurance as they enter their golden years.
Leone was just 16-years-old when she first clapped her eyes on George Aiken. The two, both students at local high schools, were at an Old-Time dance in Parramatta. Leone instantly liked the look of George. “I suppose I fell in love with his nice long legs. He was a Homebush boy; I went to Parramatta home Science which was an all girls’ school, he went to an all boys’ school,” Leone says. “We knew at our first date that this was it. We both felt very comfortable, and that was how it has stayed.”
Three years later, the pair were married, going on to have a daughter the following year and a son four years later. The pair continued to dance as much as they could, with George working as a truck driver. When George retired, the duo moved to Coffs Harbour. “We found our house was too big and we couldn’t manage, so we moved to Port Macquarie to a retirement village,” Leone says. “Our daughter lives close by so she keeps an eye on us as well. We’re happy here and we’re looked after really well. At the moment, I have a few problems but we’re getting on top of it now and I feel happy in myself.”
The Aikens have visits from Home Nursing Group staff once a fortnight to help with some cleaning. Because of her arthritis, Leone can no longer get down on floor level, and appreciates someone else cleaning the shower recess! “Knowing we have help from Home Nursing Group is reassuring. As you get older, you don’t realise how much help you really need,” Leone says. “The help is very welcome. We know that if ever we needed more help, the girls here are always willing to help us out, like when I was in hospital and they helped George out. We’ve been very thankful for that.”
Leone has always led an active life and with her 80th year just around the corner, she still loves to meet new people and get out and about. “I’m a very independent person; all my life I’ve been busy,” she says. “I did yoga when I was younger with the kids and now I still do a bit of exercise, we call it Aqua Zumba. You go dancing in a heated pool every Friday for an hour and it’s wonderful to talk to someone different for a change. It’s relaxing and you need that little bit of time to yourself.” Leone and George have also worked out a fantastic system that gets them out of the house for dinner. “We like to go to the club every now and then,” she says. “We have a little system that if you get a $5 note, you put them all to the side and when you have $50 each we go out to dinner somewhere and it’s all paid for and works out really good. It’s a nice treat and it gives us a night out.”
With five granddaughters, three great-granddaughters and three great-grandsons, the pair are extremely family orientated. However, the happiness of their family has come from the solid foundations Leone and George laid long ago – with strong roots of love put down over six decades. “I think the secret to a happy marriage is togetherness,” Leone says. “You’ve got to remember it’s a merger, not a takeover. It’s not all roses; you’ve got to learn to give and take and that’s how we manage.”