Quality, compassionate and respectful care can make a real difference to the lives of those who depend on residential aged care, as demonstrated by Sandy and Lyn Connell's story.
The couple recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and despite having a marriage that some would label unconventional, the couple are proud that each other remain the most important aspect of their lives.
SwanCare resident Mr Connell was diagnosed with dementia at 59 years of age, and the difficult decision was made five years later for him to move into a SwanCare aged care facility.
“Having Sandy enter care was the most difficult and heartbreaking life event I’ve had to deal with, but he’d been experiencing increasingly regular falls and his dementia was really severe, so we decided it was for the best,” says Mrs Connell.
“I think some people have preconceived and negative ideas about aged care, but the reality is that, at somewhere like SwanCare, it really is like home but with the added peace of mind that full-time medical care is at hand.”
As a result of their physical separation, the couple have slept apart for the past nine years.
“Sandy has and always will be the biggest part of my life, we’re still a married couple living a different way of life, and thanks to the wonderful staff at SwanCare we’ve achieved both balance and peace in our lives,” she says.
“With the knowledge Sandy is well cared for, as well as happy and respected, I’ve been able to have a wonderful quality of life with him but also commence a life for myself, which at first was very difficult but thankfully now I can honestly say the highs outweigh the lows.
“It's amazing how dementia can take so much from someone's life, but when Sandy spends time looking at photo albums, with myself and perhaps a couple of the SwanCare nurses, we laugh and joke, and that brings back some normality and the chance to see my beautiful husband as he once was.”
Mr and Mrs Connell celebrated their wedding anniversary on 22 April 2017 and their story was covered in the May 2, 2017 edition of The Canning Times.
SwanCare Chief Executive Officer Graham Francis said he and the entire SwanCare team congratulate the couple on their special milestone anniversary.
“Everyone at SwanCare wishes Sandy and Lynn all the very best as they celebrate their 50th year,” he says. “Although they have perhaps had a more challenging journey than some because of Mr Connell’s health issues, reaching such a milestone is a wonderful achievement.”
Sandy and Lyn's story was covered in the May 2, 2017 edition of The Canning Times.