SINGAPORE - They just met in March but two seniors, Madam Mariah Abdul Hamid, 70, and Mr Ismail Sapuan, 62, who fell in love after several trips accompanying each other to the hospital, are now married.
The retired duo were solemnised at the Masjid Al-Ansar on Sunday (May 7) as family members, friends, as well as staff and volunteers from the Sunlove-Kampong Chai Chee Seniors Activity Centre in Chai Chee Avenue, looked on.
The elderly lovebirds told The Straits Times that they decided to get married to support each other through their golden years, adding that their love had blossomed over dates at food centres in Geylang and Changi Village.
Glowing with love, Madam Mariah, a former polyclinic staff who was widowed 29 years ago, said: "When he asked me to get married I was shocked. I never expected to get married at this age. I'm very excited and happy. He's friendly, he laughs... I've never met a man like that."
Mr Ismail, a former ambulance driver, said: "Both of us have diabetes and high blood pressure. We can take care of each other when we are sick."
Their wedding reception was held at the centre at Block 31, a short distance from the mosque at Bedok North Avenue 1. The entire event was put together by volunteers and the centre, said its manager Noraidah Haji Akib. The centre spent about $1,000 on the event which included catered food.
Madam Noraidah said: "We encouraged the couple to get married to take care of each other. Once people heard about the wedding, they stepped forward to help with the make-up, wedding cake and decoration. There's a clear sense of kampung spirit here."
Madam Mariah has three adult children. It is her third marriage. This is Mr Ismail's sixth marriage. He has one daughter.
Madam Mariah's daughter, Ms Rosmawati Jamalik, 40, who is unemployed, said she is glad that her mother has found a companion. "They are quite cute together. They can now rely on each other. She's happier now that she has a husband after being alone for so long after my father died of cancer."
The newlyweds said they have plans to go on a tour of Langkawi or Malacca.
According to the 2015 report on marriages and divorces released last July, there were 99 brides and 442 grooms aged 60 and above who got married that year, compared to 68 brides and 374 grooms in 2014.
It follows a growing trend of more people tying the knot later in life.