Aged Care home reunites couple for Valentine’s Day after years apart
12 Feb 2018
It seems only fitting that in the lead up to the most romantic day of the year, Ipswich witnesses the starry-eyed reunion of an elderly couple – made possible by Catholic Healthcare’s newest aged care home in Eastern Heights.
Patricia and Brian Foord have been reunited after more than four years living at separate aged care homes, due to the female-only criteria of the Villa Maria Eastern Heights home. Now, since the service has been rebuilt and relocated from its original location on Limestone St in Ipswich to Robertson Road in Eastern Heights, the couple can finally live together as husband and wife, once again.
The couple will celebrate their 61-year wedding anniversary this April, and will rejoice in their first Valentine’s Day together after more than four years apart, this week. After living in separate residences for such an extended time – their reactions truly show absence makes the heart grow fonder.
84-year-old Brian Foord entered residential aged care in June 2015, after experiencing a bad fall in a supermarket. Brian’s frailty due to Parkinsons’ disease meant he was encouraged to move directly into residential aged care, where his condition could be more effectively managed.
Shortly after, his wife Patricia (affectionally known as Pat) moved in with their daughter Cathy, who noticed her increasing dependence on 24-hour care – something that the busy teacher regrettably couldn’t give.
“Mum has been living at Villa Maria for about 3 years now, and the care has been genuinely wonderful,” says Cathy “it has however, admittedly, been difficult having Mum and Dad so far away from each other.”
Prior to moving into residential aged care, Brian and Pat were avid travelers, fitting in many adventures in-between the busyness of their working lives. Brian, a foundry worker, was an active younger man, while Pat spent a lot of time dress-making and caring for their three children. A clear mutual value of the couple was their focus on family.
“Mum and Dad spent their younger years in Melbourne and Sydney, but moved to Brisbane when they retired,” Cathy explains. “They were very keen to spend time with their family up here, especially the grandchildren.”
The sentiment of family has clearly never left Brian, who told his daughter prior to the move that he is “so excited to see Pat again.”
“It’s been about a year since they’ve actually seen each other,” says Cathy.
“He really misses his family.”
Pat, who is living with dementia, also shared her excitement to see Brian again – feeling anxious to “get prettied up” before her husband moved in.
But all anxiety was left behind the moment the two set eyes upon each other, and embraced as though no time had passed at all.
Brian is now the first male to take residence in Villa Maria Eastern Heights, his room conveniently opposite Pat’s, where the pair have the freedom to visit each other regularly.
“Despite Brian’s very recent debut to the home, he seems to be settling in quite well,” says Residential Aged Care manager, Carol Nowak. “I guess it’s one of those stories that show you, ‘home really is where the heart is.”