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5 elderly siblings move into same assisted care center to be together

Posted January 12

More than 70 years after a beautiful shared childhood, five siblings are back under the same roof once again — this time at an assisted living facility. (Deseret Photo)

PEABODY, Mass. — More than 70 years after a beautiful shared childhood, five siblings are back under the same roof once again — this time at an assisted living facility.

In some ways, it’s like Carmen Wesala, Lawrence Mallia, Mary Cena, Georgia Southwich and Lucy O’Brien are kids again, according to Today. The siblings spend their days eating meals together, chatting and playing games. The four sisters and their brother see each other every single day because they live in the same Massachusetts care center.

“We are all just so happy to be together again,” Cena told Today. “I just wish my other brothers and sisters could have experienced this with us.”

The siblings come from a family of 11 children — six have passed away. The oldest living sibling is 98, while the youngest is 85.

Wesala was the first to move into the Jeffrey and Susan Brudnick Center for Living four years ago. When Cena’s husband passed, she followed suit so that she could be close to her sister, according to Today.

The sisters must have made a case for that kind of family togetherness, because Southwick, O’Brien and Mallia soon joined them. Just as it was when they were younger, the siblings stick together — checking in on one another with love and care.

“We were very good to one another growing up and that still rings very true today,” Cena told Today. “That’s how we were able to be all together again.”

Living in the same home has its obvious perks — the siblings are never lonely, they help one another keep various medical appointments and there is never a shortage of visitors from extended family.

“It’s wonderful, because I go up and I can easily check in on all of them at once,” Southwick’s daughter, Janis Regis, told Today. “If there’s ever a rare chance that I end up going away somewhere, it’s so reassuring to know they have each other.”

The siblings are used to seeing a lot of each other — even before they lived together, they all raised their families in the same town. Four of the five worked together at the family grocery store, Today reports.

“I can’t understand how brothers and sisters can go through life without speaking to each other,” Cena said. “Each of us has to accept the others’ differences because it makes us who we are.”

The sibling bond doesn't go unnoticed at the center.

"They know when someone may not be feeling well that day, or whatever may be happening," nurse Wanda Carratu told Today. "They sense that.”

The five sibilngs say they couldn't think of a better way to live out the rest of their lives.

“When you’re old and you think of the best time of your life, you think of those times when you were surrounded by family and friends," Cena told Today. "I couldn’t ask for anything better in the end.”

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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