“You’ve got to listen.”
That’s the advice Elisabeth Thomas would give anyone aiming to be married as long as her and her husband Willy.
The couple first met in the mid-1950s in their home country of Germany. It was at a community dance, a common gathering place in small towns and villages throughout Germany in those days. Willy was a tall and lithe. Elisabeth liked his Bavarian accent.
“He had a beautiful accent,” she said. “It was so different. It was the first thing I noticed.”
Elisabeth caught his eye as well. He asked her to dance. She said yes. After the third dance he asked her if she wanted to have a drink. She agreed and the two enjoyed some wine together. It was a simple little evening that the two never forgot.
On January 26, the Andrews of Parkhill couple celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary, a milestone the two are proud of.
“We love each other,” Elisabeth said.
“We want to be together,” Willy added. “We want to be together until we are six feet under.”
It’s a sentiment shared by many resident couples at Andrews Senior Care, and one Senior Living Advisor Amanda Kotlar said our teams do their best to accommodate.
“When you’re married as long as some of our resident couples, your husband or wife becomes a part of you,” she said. “We know how important that relationship is and we work hard to ensure couples are living out their retirement years the way they always imagined for as long as possible.”
Amanda added front-line team members play the primary role in making that happen.
Sharon Woods-Bryenton, a program coordinator at our Stratford home, has been a key figure in the lives of many resident couples during her 16-year tenure with Andrews.
“It’s a real honour to be a part of their senior years,” said Sharon. “It’s really neat to see the love couples show and share for each other.”
She said couples and their families are always appreciative of the anniversary parties Andrews hosts. And while parties are always popular, it’s the little things Sharon often gets the most positive responses from. For instance, many couples still want the independence of getting each other gifts on anniversaries or Valentine’s Day. Sharon will often help arrange these sorts of gestures, buying flowers or cards to mark special occasions.
“It’s important to celebrate anything that’s important for a couple,” she said.
Randy Ells, whose parents Gerald and Anne lived at Andrews for 11 years, still remembers the final anniversary party Andrews hosted for his parents.
It was June 18, 2018, their 65th anniversary. Anne had been adamant the whole family needed to be there. Randy and his sister Judy Ells-Whittingham, along with the Andrews team, made sure everything was perfect.
“It was a very nice time,” Randy said. “The Andrews team was exceptional with their help. (Having mom and dad live there) always gave us a lot of comfort.”
Which is exactly the point, as far as Sharon is concerned.
“It feels great knowing you’re making a difference that way,” she said. “It’s a special part of our job.”