You’ve probably heard the phrase “love knows no bounds” and that is very true for one couple at Elim Park, an independent living community in Cheshire, Conn. Despite their age, they’ve fallen head over heels for each other and are redefining retirement.
“I loved it here,” recalled Judy Grabar. “I was not looking for romance. That was the further thing from my mind. I think it was probably yours too,” she said to her beloved Wayne Detzler
“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” he laughed.
But romance is what these two lovebirds found. Judy and Wayne are both residents of Elim Park
“I think a chapter of your life starts at Elim Park, for older adults specifically,” said Nicole Caccoma, the retirement community’s director of business development. “You come here you meet new friends. Lots of times you reunite with old friends you haven’t seen in years. You pick up new interests and perhaps even find love.”
Wayne is 84 years young and Judy is 84.
“I’m an older woman so I’m a cougar,” Judy joked.
“I call her my cougar,” Wayne agreed.
The pair first met before their spouses of 55 plus years passed away. But after losing them to dementia, Judy and Wayne found comfort in each other.“I don’t know, I started having feelings for him,” Judy recalled of their courtship.
“Yeah, I did too,” Wayne said. “We started figuring out somethings going on here.”
So late last year Wayne got down on one knee to pop the question.
“You know I’m 82 years old so when I got down on my knee and put the ring on her finger, then I had to figure out how to crawl back across the floor and get a chair so I could get up again,” Wayne joked.
Wayne and Judy said I do on December 29, 2018, on stage in Nelson Hall, Elim Park’s very own performing arts theater.
“It was a wonderful wedding,” Judy recalled. “We just opened it up to everyone here at Elim Park. We had special friends from outside come and I think we must have had about 200 people there.”
“I don’t see it often, and I think it’s amazing, and I think that we’ll probably see a lot more of it down the road,” Caccoma said of their marriage. “I think they started a trend.”
The couple has since moved in together and is looking forward to their future as one.
“I love her sense of humor,” Wayne said of Judy. “That never stops. She can get a laugh out of me morning, noon or night, and I can do the same with her. We just joke together. We have a lot of fun together.”
“You’re not too old to fall in love,” Judy said. “No, you’re really not. I feel young and in love.”
To learn more about Elim park, visit ElimPark.org.