They say friends are the loved ones we choose, and that companionship is more important than ever as we grow older. Antonietta and Guiseppina are two remarkably similar women who only kindled a friendship after meeting at an aged care residence, Regis Burnside. Although never having met before moving into the Home, Antonietta and Guiseppina had incredibly similar upbringings and ran in very similar circles, having numerous mutual connections and many ‘almost run-ins’ with each other.

Antonietta was born in Paolisi, Italy in 1927, and Giuseppina in Cervinara, Italy in 1933. Paolisi and Cervinara are only a short distance apart, along the Roman Appian Way in Southern Italy, close to Naples. They both immigrated to Australia in the 1950s and were devoted Italians. Despite their kindred upbringing, Antonietta and Guiseppina didn’t come into each other’s lives until they met at Regis Burnside in 2021. However since they met, they have been inseparable ever since.

Discovering that they both had so much in common, a friendship quickly formed, and as it blossomed, they found that they had an uncanny amount in common. Giuseppina lived close to Antonietta’s sister in Magill. Giuseppina’s husband was a winemaker and he, together with Giuseppina, would often visit Antonietta’s house to have their wine barrels repaired by Antonietta’s husband. These are only some of the many coincidences they have discovered since meeting, and such discoveries are being made each day, not only from their experiences in Adelaide, but also from those stretching back to their childhood in Italy.

Developing a friendship through this time in their lives has made their transitions into aged care much easier for them both. It has meant both women have had someone with similar experiences who they can connect with. To Antonietta, friendship means “sincerity and ‘piacere’”, which translates to pleasure. Giuseppina feels “being loyal and kind to each other” are the fundamentals of a great friendship. Giuseppina loves having a friend she can reminisce with and converse with in Italian. Antonietta likes Giuseppina’s “outgoing and talkative nature,” which is quite different from her reserved manner. Her daughter has even noticed she “becomes her old self” when around Giuseppina.

Giuseppina’s and Antonietta’s friendship is just one of the many examples that show us how connected we all are to each other. Just like the song written by the Sherman Brothers in the fifties, it really is a “small world after all.” Most importantly, they remind us of the significance friendships have on us and the powerful and positive impact they can make on our lives daily.