Eastern Ontario couple separated by COVID-19 enjoy anniversary visit

Staff members at their respective care homes helped Harry and Arlie Beckstead celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary together, even with pandemic precautions in place.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
August 11, 2020
Harry and Arlie on their anniversary. Photo submitted / Postmedia

For the last four years, Arlie and Harry Beckstead (aged 92 and 85, respectively) have been living in separate care homes, as Arlie needs a higher level of care than Harry does. Their homes are situated across the road from each other just outside of Brockville, Ontario, so Harry can walk over to visit his wife. Or he could, until COVID-19 hit and strict visitor restrictions were put into place.

Staff members assisted by setting up video chats for the two, but Arlie’s recent hearing loss has prevented that from continuing. Harry says it’s been too difficult for them to talk, but that his wife “just likes me to hold her hand.”

So Elizabeth Brunsveld, a manager at Chartwell Rosedale Retirement Residence, where Harry lives, spearheaded an effort by staff at the two facilities to ensure the couple got to celebrate their 65th anniversary together. On her own time, Brunsveld and her husband got the couple some small gifts and made a video using photos from their life together. Staff ensured that Harry was granted a compassionate in-person visit to see Arlie on their anniversary, brought him there by bus, and got them a cake. Harry says they were “treated like royals” on their special day.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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