A nursing home in Irchester is proving romance can continue for elderly couples in residential care.
Love was on the menu at The Cottage nursing home on High Street when resident Tony Ellis, 80, enjoyed a special lunch with his wife, Brenda, 79, to celebrate 60 years of marriage. Tony moved into The Cottage five years ago after he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia affecting 150,000 people in the UK.
Home manager, Felicity Bucknall-Hart, and the activities team at the home stepped in to create the romantic meal when Tony was made ‘Resident of the Day’, a unique initiative which gives residents the chance to have a day that’s exactly as they want it to be.
“Our ‘Resident of the Day’ scheme gives everyone here the opportunity, once a month, to have a day tailored to them,” said Felicity. “It’s a key part of the high-quality, personalised care we offer at The Cottage. Although Tony’s communication is limited now, he clearly enjoyed having this special time with Brenda.”
The pair met as teenagers in 1955 on a coach trip to see a Sunday night show at the DeMontford Hall in Leicester. Tony, an apprentice electrician and cornet player in the Rushden Temperance Band, married Brenda in 1957 but just two months into their married life he began his National Service.
“After his basic training he was sent out to Aden,” remembers Brenda, “so I spent most of the first two years we were married on my own!
On his return the couple bought their first house in Rushden with savings from Brenda’s wages from the Lancashire Dynamo and Crypto factory, and soon after had twin boys who still live close by.
Tony and Brenda were treated to prawn cocktail for their lunch followed by pork casserole and cheesecake, with flowers on their table in the home’s newly refurbished tea room. The home offers nursing care for us to 53 residents and specialises in caring for those with greater needs.
Staff had brought in photos of the couple’s life together and a model of Tony’s boots and beret from his time with the Northants Regiment.
“I come to see him four days a week but it was lovely to have this special time together, the staff made such a fuss of us!” said Brenda, who lives just minutes away from the home. “Tony doesn’t say much these days but he looked at me and he smiled which was wonderful.
“We’re very grateful to Felicity and the team for organising this for us.”