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Heather and Ern – Finding love through support

Written by Janelle Kelly, Communications Assistant with integratedliving

Clients Heather and Ern met in a support group. They were both caring for their partners who were living with dementia and wishing that there was more dementia support available throughout the Newcastle and Hunter regions. Ern gained Community and Government support and opened the Hunter Dementia and Memory Centre, which is about to head into its 12th year of operation.

After Heather and Ern’s partners passed away, they stayed in contact with each other and continued to be a support for one another.

“We always got along so well and it was so helpful to have someone who was going through something similar to chat to.” said Heather.

“I always admired Ern and the amazing things he had done is his life, and was still doing.”

Ern left school early and began working for AMP insurance, which he did for many years. “He was on the Board for many organisations, knew everyone in the community and never took no for an answer. “I knew when he set his heart on getting the dementia centre up and running, that he would make it happen.” said Heather.

Heather and Ern discovered that they shared a love for travel and cricket. “Ern saw a TV ad for a holiday to Lords to see the cricket. He rang and asked if I wanted to go with him, and the rest, as they say, is history.” said Heather.

Heather and Ern have travelled to many great places together and got married after a trip to Hong Kong. Ern is now living with dementia and while their travels have slowed down a bit, they still share great memories thanks to the many photographs that are displayed around their house.

“We have many photos of our travels around the house and we often talk about all of the fun things we have done together.” Heather said.

Ern attends integratedliving’s Raymond Terrace Activity Centre and enjoys social outings. “Ern really enjoys coming to the centre and he tells me all about the things he does and places he goes.” said Heather.

“It is good for me too, to have some time to run errands and have a small break from caring for Ern and I can do that knowing he is having a great time at the Activity Centre.”

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