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The perfect solution

Six decades of love and laughter later – and it all started with a beautiful sage-green mohair skirt.

Ian and Glenise Henderson are still as much in love as ever since they first met at the Orama Ballroom in Footscray all those years ago. Ian spotted her on the dance floor and was instantly mesmerized. But Glenise reckons it was her skirt that did the trick. “That skirt put his eyebrows up! He came over and asked me to dance.”

As it turns out, it was a real labour of love for Ian, who freely admits he’s not a Fred Astaire on the dance floor. “One of my life regrets is not taking proper dance lessons.” He chuckles, “In fairness though, I was terrible and would have needed a hundred lessons or more.”

Ian, 81, lives at Uniting AgeWell Kingsville Community and Glenise, 79, lives at the neighbouring Uniting AgeWell Amarco Apartments. She visits him daily. Ian uses a wheelchair, and Glenise often wheels him to her flat for the day.

This is the perfect arrangement for their needs. When Ian’s mobility took a turn for the worse, the couple downsized from their large Torquay home and looked for a place that had an aged care facility paired with independent living apartments. Their wish list also included ground floor access and large courtyard – and Kingsville Community and Amarco Apartments fitted the bill.

“We’re very lucky to have found Kingsville,” says Glenise. “I can take Ian back whenever he needs staff support, and the staff can call me anytime if they need me – I’m only next door. All the staff including the nurses, personal care workers and allied health workers like the physiotherapist are very warm, friendly, respectful and willing to do anything.”

And after a busy lifetime together spanning 58 years of marriage, this solution works well. And Ian, or ‘Hendo’ as his mates call him, is good at finding solutions to problems.

He lectured in education specializing in science and chemistry at Ballarat University. And he had great joy in watching his students go on to become teachers.

Glenise was a stay-at-home mum to their three children – Louise, Paul and Scott – and life in Ballarat, where they lived for 26 years, was a busy whirl of raising kids, school, sports and everything else in between that raising a family entails.

Ian also loved fishing – his favourite spot is Kyalite near Swan Hill. When he wasn’t reeling in a Murray cod, you might have found him at the MCG as part of the Essendon cheer squad.

Family is hugely important to Ian. His father, who served in the machine gun battalion in WWI, returned home with shrapnel wounds in his knees. The local farmers would roll cigarettes for him. He died when Ian was just 14. Ian was raised by his Mum, and still remembers her getting her driver’s license and buying the second car ever to roll off the production line. The car is now being restored.

The couple has a motto they’ve always lived by. “Be yourself and stand up for people who are less fortunate.”

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