For those who are lucky enough to spend their lives with their partner, going into a care home can feel like a daunting change. However, many people are able to continue their happy relationships even if one, or both, of them goes into a care home.
Ken and Margaret Harris were recently reunited at a care home in Wales in time to celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary. Having been married since 1937, they were briefly separated when Ken was not able to care for Margaret and she was taken to a care home where she could receive proper medical care and treatment. He visited her regularly and was soon reunited with her when he was given a space at the home too. They are now able to spend every day together with regular visits from their children.
Some couples do not live in care homes together but are still able to maintain a happy partnership through regular visits and contact. Richard and Joan Hills are a perfect example of how a happy marriage can continue in care. They married over 70 years ago on Christmas Day and Richard has revealed that the secret to their long and happy marriage is letting his wife be the boss! Joan has been a resident of a care home since Richard became unable to care for her at their home. He now visits almost every day and has said that the welcoming atmosphere, friendly staff and excellent food make his visits even better.
There are a number of heart-warming stories of people meeting their partner in a care home, including Sian and Steve who met at a care organisation and recently married in a nearby hotel. Sian has epilepsy and Steve suffered a stroke and several heart attacks which is what led them to be at the home together. After striking up a friendship they got engaged during a romantic meal prepared by staff at the organisation.
Sian was determined to get down the aisle without her wheelchair and after a lot of hard work she was able to walk unaided and make it to the front of the room. The couple are now living in a shared room with a private lounge at the specialist facility for younger adults with physical disabilities. This allows them to have their independence and privacy whilst still being supported by a team of staff.
As well as meeting in care or living together after many years of happy marriage there are also stories of weddings taking place in care homes. Peter and Ann Kirk recently married in a care home having met nearly 60 years ago. The couple met on the bus where Ann worked as a conductor and Peter travelled on to work each day, however, they remained just friends and both went on to marry other people. However, many years later when their marriages ended they were reunited. Peter was taken into care due to his health but staff at the facility enabled the couple to achieve their dream when they organised a wedding at the home. Members of staff surprised the couple when they dressed up their children to act as flower girls and pageboys.
The staff in care homes all around the country help to enable people to live with as much independence as possible whilst also providing specialist care. Many of these people go far beyond their roles in order to allow couples to live as normally as possible and have seen relationships blossom in the residences. The teams oversee many different relationships, both old and new, and one of our customers said that they have learned that the secret to a happy relationship is commitment and companionship. They told us that for occasions such as anniversaries they give residents a fancy meal, cake and gifts to make sure they feel extra special which also makes the residents appreciate the staff for going that extra mile. Actions such as this can really make a difference to those living in care and really brighten the days for staff too.
Carolyn Baker-Mellor is a respected industry leader with over 35 years' experience within the care insurance sector. She works across a wide spectrum of insurance product and policy development, delivery and optimisation for care industry clients, including managing global corporate accounts, working closely with trade associations, and helping clients in protecting their businesses and personal assets. Her areas of expertise within the sector include care homes, nurseries, domiciliary care, hospices and charities.
Carolyn currently works at Towergate as Head of Care Insurance. Towergate is the UK’s leading independent insurance broking platform and forms part of the Ardonagh Group, an international network of over 100 offices and 7,000 people which incorporates leading brands in both Lloyd’s of London and global markets.
She previously worked for 10 years at Aon as a director, client services leader and assistant director for claims.
We would love to hear your stories of love, marriage and friendship in care homes. Share your experiences on social media with the hashtag #LoveInCare and we might include them in this article.
Date: January 30, 2018
Category: Care and Medical