Nick Rudd, 83, and his wife, Anne, 82, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last month at their Kailua-Kona home.
They’re socially isolated, so there was no party.
But they were together and happy in love. Nick is a caregiver for Anne, who has dementia. The coronavirus pandemic has made it a little more difficult to be a caregiver. But Nick Rudd isn’t intimidated by a virus.
After all, he’s survived German bombings in his native England during World War II.
“I can take care of her (Anne) just fine,” he said.
“My parents lived through WWII in England. In his (Nick’s)mind this (living through COVID-19) is just a mild irritation,” said daughter Nicola Hesse, a retired physician who relocated from Maryland in 2018 to be closer to her parents. Hesse and her husband live next door to the Rudds, as does younger sister, Joanna and her husband.
“Dad does well when there are rules in place because he likes to follow a regimen,” said Hesse. “He’s got a great attitude caring for my mom, they both seem happy.”
Rudd appears to be doing alright as a caregiver during the pandemic. He has a support team, enough food and medicine and a plan if he becomes sick — one of his daughters will take over caregiving.
When home quarantine took effect, the daughters made a stack of cottage pies for their British-born parents to freeze and eat at will.
“I do all the cooking otherwise and I cook what I like to eat,” said Rudd. “I’ll make bangers and mash; sausage, eggs and chips (fries); beans on toast; jam sandwiches.”
Nick cooks, Anne cleans the kitchen. After waking up around 6:30 a.m., the Rudds have a regular breakfast. They might take a short nap before having a large midday meal. After lunch, Anne takes a long afternoon nap. There’s usually a light snack for supper, perhaps some soup or a jam sandwich.
The Rudds will watch some television before going to bed by 9 p.m.
“I like detective shows, Anne likes the British series The Midwife on PBS because she was a nurse and certified midwife in her career,” said Rudd.
Rudd used to give himself a respite once a week by sending Anne to the Kona Adult Day Care Center. Now, he lets his daughters watch their mother once in a while so he can have time for himself.
Hesse agrees that it’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves first. She encouraged her dad to pursue his hobby — setting up and building a model railroad in his garage.
“It gives him pleasure in doing a project — and move forward with new projects,” she said.
On the Rudd’s anniversary, their dad insisted that his daughters stay home because he didn’t want to bring a lot of people into their house during the pandemic. He fixed a classic English meal of bangers and mash and, for Anne’s birthday, he ordered takeout from a local restaurant that included a banana pie for dessert.
“We are pretty self-sufficient, and very relaxed at this time of life, there’s no stress — we’re quite happy,” said Nick, adding cheerfully, “This, too, shall pass.”
Disrupt Aging is a column produced by AARP Hawaii, West Hawaii Today and the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Roberta Wong Murray is an AARP volunteer seeking stories about people who are redefining their age. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 322-6886.