They started a family, raising three sons and daughter, and spent many happy years together in the family home.
Now 61 years later Barry Ellis, 86, has suffered a stroke and has difficulty speaking, while his wife Mary, 89, has dementia. Both have limited mobility.
But rather than being separated in their twilight years, Barry and Mary have been able to continue their love story, thanks to an experimental aged care facility.
Two months ago Barry and Mary moved into a Group Homes Australia facility. At GHA couples can live together and receive customised support. They can choose whether they share a room or have separate rooms. They can experience nights of uninterrupted sleep knowing that their partner is being cared for. And most importantly, they can enjoy being a spouse again, rather than a carer.
Tamar Krebs, CEO and Founder of Group Homes Australia, doesn't believe in separating couples during 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?" she said.
GHA has been offering this service since they opened their doors four and a half years ago.