Ill health may have temporarily forced Rockingham sweethearts Richard and Margaret Grigson into separate residences, but the 84-year-olds have now been reunited at the aged care home they both used to work at.
The devoted couple, who met when they were just 11 years old growing up in Beverley, worked at Baptistcare Gracehaven Residential Care In Rockingham for many years after moving to the area in the late 1990s to be closer to family.
Now, after nearly 20 years – and many thousands of miles enjoying retirement touring WA in their caravan – the Grigsons have returned to Baptistcare Gracehaven for the next chapter in their lives together.
Some of the carers are even familiar faces from the couple’s years working at the aged care facility, Mrs Grigson helping in the dining room and later as a lifestyle coordinator, and Mr Grigson as a carer and maintenance manager.
But being reunited once more under the same roof has made the couple’s return to Baptistcare Gracehaven all the more poignant.
When Mr Grigson, a former scout leader and SES volunteer, suffered a stroke last year and Mrs Grigson fractured a vertebra shortly after, the couple were no longer able to care for each other at home.
Daughter Michelle Markham says for a while her dad was in respite care at Baptistcare Gracehaven and his wife of 61 years was in a transitional care home in Kwinana.
“A place came up at Baptistcare Gracehaven and with luck, it was across the hallway from Dad’s room! Now they both call Gracehaven home. They’re together again,” Mrs Markham says.
“Dad has been enjoying the company of others, taking bus trips and playing pool at the men’s club and Mum is making new friends and finding new ones moving in too.”
Mr and Mrs Grigson love spending time together at Baptistcare Gracehaven, often participating in the drumming group and going on trishaw rides together.
The couple also enjoys regular visits from their beloved dog Pepi, who has learnt the way to the aged-care facility and his owners’ rooms.
Mrs Markham said both her parents had very happy memories of working at Baptistcare Gracehaven.
One of Mr Grigson’s happiest recollections is of dressing up as Santa and handing out gifts to residents. During one festive celebration, a resident who knew Santa also had maintenance skills asked him to change a lightbulb. Rumour has it that there’s a photo somewhere in the archives of Mr Grigson in his Santa suit, up a ladder changing that lightbulb.
Mr Grigson still loves lending a hand. He is always one of the first to volunteer to help set up for events at Baptistcare Gracehaven.
The team at Baptistcare Gracehaven have described Mr and Mrs Grigson as a lovely and loving couple who are patient and gentle with each other. The couple has five children, 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
“It’s wonderful when couples move into Gracehaven together,” said Amanda Vivian, Baptistcare Chief Executive Officer.
“Our team love to find ways to help partners like Richard and Margaret maintain their connection and continue to share special rituals and pastimes together,” she said.
“It’s also lovely that their extended families can come and spend time with them in their new home.”
Follow this link for more information about Residential Care or call 1300 660 640.