After a life spent racing cars, Tony and Marlene Baker decided to retire together in 1995 - until Marlene's diagnosis of dementia prompted them to move into care.

"Without even thinking about getting sick in our old age, Marlene was diagnosed with dementia five years ago," Tony said.

They found their solution at Bupa Redwood, a co-located Bupa site in Rotorua with a retirement village and care home.

They sold their home and moved into the retirement village where they lived together for two years.


However, as Marlene's dementia progressed and caring for her became harder for Tony, she moved into the care home more than a year ago.

Tony said he met Marlene in Rotorua in the early 50s at a youth dance. They married in 1962.

Marlene retired from Lands and Survey and Tony from being a mechanic and service station owner.

Tony said they had been into motoring all their lives.

He said Marlene had been an extremely good navigator for him over the years.

Tony said having two care facilities side by side gave couples with different care needs less pressure and the peace of mind if any health issues arose.

"The care and understanding is so well set up for people who have got a medical problem."

Bupa Redwood Care Home manager Noku Sibanda said moving a loved one into care can be stressful and was something Tony struggled with.


"For Tony and Marlene, they don't have children so they were very, very close to each other. Separating Tony and Marlene was something Tony was not happy about.

"Before Marlene moved to stay in the care home I had several conversations with Tony, inviting him over for a cup of tea, and talked to him about the care we were going to provide for Marlene."

She said Tony visited his wife each day and they still had quality time together.

"He lives here [in the retirement village], so it makes it easy for Tony to be here on special days."