By Lauren Spencer  | Globe Correspondent   March 16, 2014


The staff at Emerson Village had never really considered the Watertown skilled nursing facility to be a traditional wedding destination, but when you’re an 87-year-old bride, it’s the perfect spot.

Madelene Young and her groom, John Flynn, have been together for almost 40 years. Marriage was never something the Somerville couple had really considered or discussed, until recently.


Early last month, surrounded by friends and relatives, the bride was decked in a white knit dress and a string of pearls.

The groom wore a jacket and tie adorned with a white carnation, when they became husband and wife.


“I definitely did not think we’d ever have a wedding here,” said Norah Otieno-Wasonga, therapeutic recreation director at Emerson Village.

“I’ve worked in different places and we’ve never ever had a wedding in a [nursing] facility . . .  an actual wedding with a priest and everything. It was amazing.”

Young had been recovering from a series of orthopedic-related surgical and medical concerns in the rehabilitation unit at Emerson Village.

When Flynn asked her if getting married would make life easier, it didn’t take her long to answer.

“Sure,” she replied. “I was very happy that’s how it worked out.”

The ceremony was held in a private room on the fifth floor of the facility and was complete with a priest, vows, rings, and a buffet-style assortment of food and drinks for the nearly 25 guests in attendance.

Young and Flynn first met while both were working for Arlex in Arlington and Lexington. They have lived together in Somerville for the past 35 years.

Young is 16 years older than her new husband.

“It’s the people mainly [not the age], and just the way it sometimes works out,” Young said.

As she continues to recover from a second hip replacement surgery, a broken leg, and an infection, Young receives care from a group of nurses and therapists from All Care VNA, an agency based in Lynn.

[All Care VNA nurse] Alina Carabas visits their Somerville apartment up to three times a week to care for Young, and to teach Flynn proper care techniques as well.

“I see the way he looks at her and you can see how much someone can actually care about someone else,” Carabas said. “Their story has absolutely touched a lot of hearts, it’s so lovely.”


Founded in 1911, All Care provides home health care through All Care VNAAll Care Hospice and All Care Resources/Private Care Services in over 50 communities of the North Shore, Greater Boston and Merrimack Valley. For more information, please call 781-598-7066 or visit www.allcare.org.