Family photographs line the walls of Samuel and Beatrice Green’s room where they hold hands while relaxing in their recliners. The Greens exchanged their wedding vows 63 years ago in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they raised three children and spent most of their married life; Samuel Green practiced optometry until his retirement in 1999.
Now the Greens are one of many couples who live together at Kivel Campus of Care in Phoenix.
“Recently Kivel has been experiencing a trend for couples moving into the nursing home and independent apartments,” says Hank Arens, Kivel’s director of community services. “Double occupancy rooms have been converted into homey environments for the couples to share their living quarters, much like they have at their homes.”
The Greens chose the Gimel Unit in the care center building of Kivel Nursing Home because it provided accommodations for them to live together, says Samuel Green. “We have been together our whole lives, it seems, and nothing was going to separate us.”
Alvin and Anne Plotkin, married for 65 years, also live together on Kivel’s campus. However, Alvin Plotkin lives in the independent apartments, while wife Anne lives in the care center’s Gimel unit. Each day, they eat meals together and Alvin takes Anne for walks through the building, sharing jokes or showing photographs of the couple’s earlier years. Alvin says he is grateful that he is healthy and able to take care of his wife, since she took care of him during much of their life together.
Jack and Inez Golden also both live in the care center, but in different units. The couple spent the majority of more than 60 years of married life in New York City. Now Inez lives in the Aleph Unit, a specialized unit for memory-impaired and Alzheimer’s residents.
“When I visit her, she doesn’t recognize me anymore,” Jack says. “But love conquers all. It is very important that we are together, that is all that matters.”
Arens can think of several couples that come to live at Kivel. “Their lives were rich simply because they were together,” he says. “We are delighted to be able to provide a caring, homelike environment for couples who wish to share their golden years together.”
Currently, there are nine couples who live together in the independent apartments; two couples that share a room in the care center; and four couples where one spouse lives in the apartments, the other in the care center.
This article first appeared in the Oct. 11, 2002 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.