By Janet Tappin Coelho
A Brazilian pensioner has become the oldest person to get engaged aged ONE HUNDRED AND SIX.
Valdemira Rodrigues de Oliveira said yes to her 66-year-old toyboy Aparecido Dias Jacob in a stunning ceremony on Saturday [28/01].
The pair of smitten seniors, with the combined age of 172 years, held the special engagement after doctors banned their marriage.
But after three years together, the senior romantics, who have separate rooms at Nossa Senhora Fatima retirement home in Pirassununga, south east Brazil, were determined to prove it’s never too late to be with your soulmate.
The elderly sweethearts exchanged engagement rings in a betrothal service organised by volunteers under an initiative called the ‘Project of Dreams’.
Volunteer Fabiane Zaffalon, said: “As they couldn’t get married we came up with another way to make their dreams come true by holding an engagement ceremony at the retirement home.”
She walked down the aisle with her Zimmer-frame decorated with roses.
Speaking about her love for her future husband, the centenarian said: “I fell in love with him. I like him a lot. If he dies, I die too.”
It’s the first time both Valda and Jaco have been married. Neither of them have children and most of Valda’s relatives have died while Jaco has lost touch with his family.
A volunteer page boy and bridesmaid, Renan and Isabella, both 12-years-old accompanied Valda.
A live band played the wedding march as Jaco, dressed in a bespoke suit and tie, waited at the front with the master of ceremonies for his future fiancée.
At the altar, the couple couldn’t hold back from sealing the occasion with a passionate kiss before taking their vows in front of the 150 invited guests.
After a short message and prayer, the happy couple said “yes” to stay loyal to each other and exchanged engagement rings.
In Brazil, an engagement ring is placed on the third finger of the right hand and when the person gets married the same band is swapped to the ring finger on the left hand.
The two lovebirds were among 40 residents at the elderly care home who were asked by the Project’s organisers what they would like to do ‘most in their life to make them happy.’
Fabiane Zaffalon, a volunteer at the home, said: “We came up with the idea last November to use the ‘Project of Dreams’ to find out from our elderly residents what they wanted to fulfil in their lives.
“We asked Valda and Jaco separately what their dreams were. They both said to get married and to have a little house where they could live together.”
But docs warned organisers the couple’s age and health problems would make it difficult for them to do this.
Fabiane added: “So we decided to make Valda and Jaco’s wishes come true by arranging a spectacular engagement party where they could pledge their love for each other.”
The lovestruck pair met at the residential home in 2014 and it was love at first sight for Jaco, who suffers from paralysis of the left arm.
He has been living in the home for 19 years after being homeless and unemployed.
Jaco said: “I fell in love with Valda from the moment I saw her. I know she’s a little older than me, but that doesn’t matter because she makes me really happy.
“I asked her to marry me and we always believed it would happen but getting engaged is a step forward for us right now.”
The couple are inseparable and spend all day with each other, chatting, eating their meals together and sitting side by side in the home.
“I know it’s not going to happen but I would have loved to be able to wash Jaco’s clothes, cook his meals and look after him like a wife,” said a totally besotted Valda.