Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Bonnie and Clyde… Noel and Elza Greaves’ romance is up there with the classics. It’s easy to see why the couple, who live together at Regis Ringwood, could be the inspiration for a modern love story.
In 1952, Noel and Elza said “I do” to sharing the rest of their lives with one another, and this promise is one they took literally.
Partway through 2020, Noel and Elza faced the prospect of living away from one another when Elza’s health declined, requiring her to move into residential aged care. But Noel was adamant that they would stick together. “I remember when Elza moved in and how upset she was about the thought of being away from Noel”, said Regis Ringwood’s Lifestyle Manager, Iga Bylok. “At the time, Noel didn’t need aged care support but he was absolutely determined to stay by her side”, she said. There was absolutely no question in Noel’s mind that he needed to move in, telling Iga that “we got married all these years ago, we loved each other then and we love each other now, so we aren’t going to be separated”.
Only stalled by needing to wait for test results, Noel joined Elza at Regis Ringwood within three days, and there were tears of joy when he arrived. Now very much settled in, the couple share a double room filled with lots of their own furniture and family photos. They go almost everywhere together, and even when parting temporarily for an appointment or exercise class, they always make time for a quick goodbye kiss.
At the Home, Iga sees the benefits of friendship rippling throughout the community. In addition to Noel and Elza’s connection, the bonds between staff and residents are very special as they share in life’s experiences together. “We get to know all of our residents and build individual relationships with them,” says Iga. “In just 12 months I already have many favourite memories with Noel and Elza including driving them to see their old home, having a tomato growing competition with Noel, and celebrating their anniversary in April”. Iga goes on to say that the other residents at Ringwood also love seeing the union between Noel and Elza, often commenting on how amazing they are. “It’s just incredible to be in the company of two people who have spent their whole lives together and still have that same level of compassion, patience and dedication,” Iga smiles.
Next year will be Noel and Elza’s platinum wedding anniversary, and the team are already looking forward to helping them mark the occasion with a big afternoon tea party. “We’ll have cake, decorations, and balloons, and invite their families and friends to celebrate with us all”, she says. And there certainly is a lot to celebrate. With nearly 70 years of happy marriage behind them and a commitment that remains as strong as ever, Noel and Elza may well just be one of the greatest love stories of all time.