Together, through thick and thin

What do you do when your partner needs care, you're still independent, but you don't want to leave each other's side? 

Tony and Marlene Baker retired in 1995 after a life well spent of racing cars, but when Marlene was diagnosed with dementia, they had a difficult decision to make.

The pair sold their home and found Bupa Redwood, a co-located site in Rotorua with both a retirement village and a care home where they lived together in the retirement village for two years.

“Without even thinking about getting sick in our old age, Marlene was diagnosed with dementia five years ago,” Tony said.

However, as Marlene’s dementia progressed and caring for her became harder for Tony, she moved into Bupa Redwood Care Home over a year ago.

Bupa Redwood Care Home manager, Noku Sibanda, said the process of moving a loved one into care can be stressful and was something Tony struggled with.

“For Tony and Marlene, they don’t have children so they were very very close to each other. Separating Tony and Marlene was something Tony was not happy about,” she says.

Before Marlene moved to stay in the care home, I had several conversations with Tony, inviting him over for a cup of tea and talked to him about the care we were going provide for Marlene.

Tony would bring Marlene into the care home and spend some time there until he felt relaxed about bringing Marlene into care.
Noku Sibanda, Bupa Redwood Care Home Manager

Now Tony is still living in the retirement village and making regular visits at least twice a day to see Marlene, who lives right next door at Bupa Redwood Care Home.

Tony feels that having the two care facilities side by side gives couples with different care needs less pressure and the peace of mind if any health issues arise.

“I think it’s up to the individual, whatever they feel that they have got the time for, and I have now to see Marlene. I think it is very important,” he says.

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