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It’s Never Too Late to Fall in Love, According to These Kittay House Tenants
“Everyday is Valentine’s Day to me,” says 99-year-old Sidney Kronish when he refers to the loving relationship he has with his girlfriend, Rozeanne Zweig. The pair has been together for more than a year.
“There isn’t a day that I don’t feel love and warmth from him to me, and me to him,” shares a very happy Rozeanne.
Rozeanne and Sidney are one of several couples who met while living at Kittay House, Jewish Home Lifecare’s affordable independent living community. Three of these heart-thumping romances were recently featured in The New York Daily News.
Click for The Daily News Coverage, and keep reading for more on these three special couples.
Sidney, a retired economics professor who moved to Kittay House five years ago, told the Daily News that he never thought he’d fall in love again. Then he met Rozeanne, shortly after she moved in 2010.
“For me, this relationship has been the most fortunate event of the past ten years. I’m heading toward my 100th birthday. In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined that I could develop so deep an affection at this stage of my life,” says Sidney.
“Once Sidney and I became more than acquaintances, I felt a certain feeling… something uplifting, just for knowing him. I was a little down and really needed a companion, but never ever dreamt that I’d meet someone as sweet, loving, brilliant, funny and charming as Sidney.”
Rozeanne adds, “This has been one of the happiest years of my life.” Rozeanne’s four children are delighted that Sidney makes her so happy and always invite him to their family occasions.
Sidney and Rozeanne participate in different activities at Kittay House. “While it’s not a requirement for our daily interests and Kittay activities to overlap, we have to have dinner and end our day together,” Sidney says.
Max and Norma
Max Bendich and Norma Badillo spend nearly every day together at Kittay House. You can often see them holding hands, singing to each other and giggling like kids as they dub every song as “our song.”
“I just can’t express it, but meeting Max has changed my whole life. I never thought I’d meet anyone again. I would always look at others longingly when they danced or held hands at Kittay’s happy hour. Most of the time, I just sat wistfully, until that memorable evening when Max tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to dance,” says a beaming Norma.
But 96-year-old Max wasn’t so sure about asking her, he confided to his adult grandson, “I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. I haven’t asked a woman out in 66 years, and I know things have changed. Should I ask her to hold my hand? When can I give her a kiss on the cheek?” His grandson advised, “You don’t think; you just do it, Grandpa.”
For Max and Norma, it’s been nothing but wonderful ever since that good advice. Not only do these lovebirds benefit from each other’s affection, but Norma, who never had any grandchildren of her own, has been adopted by Max’s enormous family with many children, grandchildren and great grandkids – all of whom live within an hour of Kittay House.
Max boasts about being the biggest optimist in the world, but humbly shares that he’s also the luckiest man. “I am grateful to be here with this wonderful lady. Believe me.”
How does this duo describe happiness? “When you get to know someone and you are not alone, and are able to say to that person, “I love you,” that makes for two very happy people. And we are,” states Max.
Selma and Nat
For Selma Cohen and Nat Cohen (unrelated) it started with Bingo. This devoted pair met at Kittay House when Nat asked her to join him at his table. Bingo games led to dancing, and that’s when this beautiful friendship began to blossom.
Selma, an attractive and spunky 88-year-old, explains, “I feel very close to Nat. We care deeply about one another and really watch out for each other.”
While they enjoy many of the Kittay evening activities together, they also respect each other’s freedom and independence.
“We especially love to compare notes over breakfast, discussing what each of us did the night before. Very often we attend different programs here, because there are plenty of options,” explains Nat.
Though Selma describes their friendship as solid, sweet and wonderful, she also expressed another benefit. “Nat likes to sneak a kiss in the elevator when no one else is around. I think I bring out the romantic in him.”
“God willing,” she says, “we’ll be together forever.”