Devoted Bill and Ruth can stay together thanks to Barrowhill Hall

Bill and Ruth Smith, who’ve barely spent a day apart in more than 50 years, can be together forever thanks to Barrowhill Hall.

Bill, aged 91, moved in with us in March after ill health made it too difficult for him to manage at home.  His wife, Ruth, 81, who has dementia, moved with him so the couple wouldn’t be apart.

Bill and Jenny have lived and worked together since they got married in 1961.

They both worked at Fole’s dairy in Uttoxeter and then moved to Elkes Biscuits (now Foxes) where Bill worked on the production line and Ruth in the office.

“They’ve always been devoted to one another,” said their daughter Jenny.  “Even now they like to hold hands and have a little kiss.  I would have fought to place them together but I didn’t have to, Barrowhill Hall was delighted to accommodate them.”

In recent years the couple had become increasingly reliant on each other.  Bill has had mobility problems while Ruth has struggled with dementia since 2014.

“Dad spent three months in hospital at Christmas and Mum just wasn’t the same without him,” remembered Jenny.  “Dad would have found it too difficult to cope at home so we had to find somewhere for him and wherever he went, I knew Mum had to go too.”

Ruth and Bill have separate rooms here because their needs are so different but they are only four doors apart and we make sure they spend as much time with each other as they want to.

Bill is the early riser and goes to Ruth’s room as soon as he gets up.  The couple spend the day together and the roles are reversed in the evening as Bill heads off to bed first and Ruth pops in later to kiss him goodnight.

“Care homes can struggle to accommodate couples if they have very different needs,” said manager Martin Rogerson.  “For example, the home might not be registered in the types of care both people need or they just might not have appropriate rooms available.  But we are delighted that we can keep such a devoted couple together.”

Share this story!