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Finding Love in Senior Living

Finding Love in Senior Living

Alissa Sauer

At Leisure Care, every day brings Five-Star Fun. But, what does that actually look like? We are glad you asked. It’s a celebration – a celebration of life, of retirement, and of our residents. Our residents are what makes each of our communities so special, so vibrant, so, well…fun! For some of our residents, Five-Star Fun turns into Five-Star Love and, for others, living in a community offering Five-Star Fun is a great way to continue a lifetime of love and adventure together. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, take some time to reflect on the love in your life – whether it be with your children, your parents, your grandchildren, or that special someone.

It’s our privilege and honor to introduce you to some of our amazing resident couples through this article. These residents and their love stories are proof that true love exists and can be found anywhere, at any time, at any age.

Falling in Love at Fairwinds – Spokane

John & BernadetteJohn and Bernadette are residents at Fairwinds – Spokane and that is where their love story begins. The couple met in the Red Sky Restaurant and John knew right away he had met someone special. Their relationship continued to evolve as they coincidentally saw each other around the community, especially in the PrimeFit gym.

As their relationship and friendship developed, they spent time reminiscing on the past, sharing memories, and they learned they shared several similarities – including that both their spouses had passed away on Thanksgiving Day and both spouses were named Jean. John dedicated himself to learning more about Parkinson’s Disease, a condition that Bernadette is living with. As he learned more about the disease, he became more impressed with Bernadette’s strength and confidence.

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John and Bernadette spend time together enjoying community events like bingo and dancing while learning more about each other and celebrating their new relationship. John recently sent Bernadette roses with a card saying, “Happy New Year to my beloved Bernadette. May the coming year bring realization of the plans and dreams of our life together.”

Thanks to John and Bernadette for reminding us that love can be found in so many places and that true love is possible at any age!

Betting on Love at Fairwinds – River’s Edge

Joe and Lorie were instantly attracted to their new home at Fairwinds – River’s Edge, putting down a deposit on the same day they first visited the community. Lorie had first recommended the community to her sister-in-law, who also visited and put a deposit down on the same day as her initial visit. Lorie was drawn in by the Jacuzzi and pool while Joe was excited about the fully stocked bar and regular Happy Hours.

The two met at their church when they were 61 years old. Lorie invited Joe to her home to enjoy her own hot tub and wine. The rest, they say, is history. One evening they went gambling on the Alton Belle Casino and missed getting off the boat it was cruising down the river. By 4:30 am, Lorie had won $26,000. She then found Joe and asked if him he wanted to get married, which they did soon after.

Volunteering has always been a large part of their lives. The couple has volunteered with the USO at the local airport, Birthright, and Room at the Inn for 5 years where they slept with the homeless overnight and made them breakfast in the morning. The couple has also made donations to St. Jude’s and speaks very highly of the work that St. Jude’s does for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Joe and Lorie say their experience at Fairwinds – River’s Edge has lived up to their expectations. The couple said, “We enjoy and have experienced things just as they were explained on our initial tour. And, everyone is so great and so caring.”

Lorie regularly enjoys the swimming pool, which helps ease the pain in her back from two back surgeries. After being in the community for three months and participating in water activities, Lorie was no longer on pain medications and said she was free from the constant back pain she once had.

The couple takes full advantage of all that being in an active and independent living community offers. They are regularly seen at Bingo, at church praying the rosary and participating in communion, socializing at Happy Hour, working out at water classes, and enjoying Frolicking Fun. They also enjoy the ease of community life with no cooking or cleaning responsibilities. They love that if one of them is sick, they can have food delivered, or one can run downstairs and pick it up and not have to go out or cook food themselves.

Joe and Lorie say they never feel alone and are now part of a bigger family with many new friends. They are wonderful community ambassadors and help new residents feel welcome and as at home as they are.  The couple enjoys community living so much that they have invited friends and family to join them at Fairwinds – River’s Edge.

As much as they love life at the community, Joe and Lorie are adventurers at heart. They enjoy traveling together and have gone on fabulous vacations including trips to Lourdes, Paris, England, Alaska, and Las Vegas, among others.

The Love of a Lifetime at Fairwinds – Rio Rancho

Linda Roberts and Philip YoungLinda Roberts and Philip Young have the type of love that everyone wants and many spend their whole lives searching for. When they describe how they met, they look at each other and smile.  Both residents at Fairwinds – Rio Rancho, Linda and Phil met three years ago after a mutual friend introduced them at the dinner table. They continued to see each other at various community functions. Phil said that he was a confirmed bachelor and was not expecting to look for Linda or wish that he would see her in the halls.  He now considers her his sweetheart and can’t imagine his life without her.

In addition to the activities and outings they participate in at Fairwinds, they have a personal driver and a retrofitted minivan that takes them on their many adventures together (i.e. the Santa Fe Opera, a bed and breakfast in the Jemez Mountains, the Rio Grande Art Festival).  Recently, the two of them practiced dancing to the Tennessee Waltz in their wheelchairs and performed at the New Year’s Eve dance.  This was a magical night, not only for them but for every person in the room.

Linda described her relationship with Phil and how she feels.  This is what she had to say:

Sometimes life throws a curveball, but if you are lucky and the stars are in alignment, sometimes you can knock it out of the park.  I think that’s what happened when Philip and I ended up here at Fairwinds shortly after we each had a stroke.  I think the two of us are kindred spirits put here by divine intervention to help each other through a tough time.  When everything looked very bleak, we found each other and now life is “just a bowl of cherries”, as they say.  We are tackling our physical shortcomings together and we revel in each other’s progress.  He really is my inspiration.  We enjoy the same things and are having loads of fun together.

Everlasting Love at The Willows

Huey and Louise McFarlandHuey and Louise McFarland are residents at The Willows Senior Living Community. The couple has been together for 67 years and spent much of that time traveling the world as missionaries. They traveled to third world countries where they offered assistance, love, and kindness. Huey and Louise rely on their faith to get them through the more difficult times of life and are an inspiration to all who meet them, with an obvious love for each other and their family.



Whether yours is a story of a lifelong love or a love that started later in life, we would love to hear your love story! Share it with us in the comments below.

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