Barry Ellis, 86, and his wife, Mary, 89, have been married for 61 years. The couple have three sons and one daughter. The couple's daughter, who works as a trainer in aged care, found out about Group Homes Australia and encouraged her parents to move into one of their group homes as it meant they could live together and receive the unique care that they both require.
Tamar Krebs, CEO and Founder of Group Homes Australia, exclaims: 'Why separate couples at the most vulnerable stage of their life? If we live our entire life in a community surrounded by our partners and families then why at a person's most vulnerable point in their life do take them away from their loved one, their familiar suburb and why do we focus on their disability?"
At Group Homes Australia
, couples can decide whether they wish to share a room or have separate rooms but live in the same home together. Each member of the couple is supported by customising the
care to their individual needs and interests. Couples can feel less responsible for caring for one another in terms of showering or toileting. They can also experience nights of uninterrupted sleep knowing that each partnered is being cared for…
Jennifer Gavshon, Group Councillor at Group Homes Australia states: 'Group Homes Australia understands that because one member of the couple is challenged there are still many aspects of a relationship that can be celebrated and enjoyed. Group Homes Australia provides couples with the opportunity to stay together either in the same house or in the same room -until the promise of death do us part'. The Group Homes Australia model supports each member of the couple with regards to their individual interests and needs."
Partners can still enjoy sharing a meaningful, long, intimate relationship.They can share a kiss goodnight, eat breakfast together at a dining area of their choice, go out for coffee, on a bus trip to a concert or other activity, go for a walk together or simply enjoy a cuddle.
Madonna Jackson, Director of People, Care and Culture at Group Homes Australia concludes:
'Barry and Mary have quite different needs and Group Homes Australia enables each of them to have their needs met but also maintain the level of independence they both really want. Whilst, living at home despite all the support they had and care from family, Barry and Mary each tried to be each other's carer – a natural thing for a loving couple who have been married for so long. In moving into Group Home they are reassured the other is being cared for around the clock, taking away the worry for each other. This has enabled Barry and Mary to enjoy the treasure of their marriage. They have morning ritual of checking in on each other and at night Barry lovingly tucks his wife into bed."