In the next part of our Seniors Life Course planning video series, Clyde Woods shares his experiences on planning for later in life with his wife Dawn.

Clyde Woods

My name is Clyde Woods. I'm 89 years old. My wife’s name is Dawn. She would have been 91 on the 6th of December and she died in June 2018.

Dawn and I met at a mutual friend's house. We were together for over 62 years.

I left school at 14 in Ballarat, became a telegram boy. I worked for 41 years and I retired in 1985.

We had a good retirement. Dawn used to love shopping. I love playing golf, so I do that quite often, potter around the garden and together, we worked for ten years as volunteers for the community health centre, driving a bus. Unfortunately, that came to a stop when Dawn got osteoarthritis and was confined to a wheelchair.

Well It all started off with little things - losing keys, forgetting people's names, not doing crosswords, cutting out going out too often. And we used to think oh well, we're in our eighties, what do we expect, but things just got worse and worse until I realised something more serious was going on. So, then we go in and saw our GP, and he thought it might be the start of dementia.

Well, when the GP suggested it might be dementia, I got the family together and I started planning.

So, first of all, we went to a lawyer, got our wills changed because she was Executor of my will. We got our Power of Attorneys updated, so that there was no problem there, and I picked a local nursing home and we got her registered. I got in touch with people who gave us home help and I did everything I could because I knew what was coming. And so, we had it all in order when it happened, when she got worse and worse and worse.

Well, after we had the first talk. Dawn knew what was going to happen. In fact, she was less upset about it than I was. So, after that really I knew what to do. I knew that she was okay with me doing it.

While she was capable of understanding - that was the important part. We talked about all these things - about nursing homes, about getting home help, about what was going to happen to her - and she understood all that.

I looked after Dawn for - with by help of my daughter Marilyn by the way, who is very helpful - I looked after Dawn for 7 years until she got so bad that I didn't think I could look after her any longer.

The first most important bit of advice is plan early because if you leave the planning too late, it's too late. So, plan early. Well, once Dawn entered the nursing home, I was very lucky. It was a wonderful nursing home. She didn't know where she was and I visited her every afternoon. I loved her until the day she died. As I said, I know I'll grieve, but grieving is memory and I don't want to lose the memories.