Rainier Grove: couple’s love story continues, 60 years strong

Posted on August 13, 2018

 Joyce and Fritz Snyder have always been by each other’s side. They met in Joyce’s hometown in Louisiana: Fritz was in the Air Force, and Joyce taught English and Speech at a local school. After their marriage in 1958, their growing family moved to many cities for Fritz’s job in pharmaceuticals. Their last destination was Rochester.

When a stroke landed Joyce in the hospital five years ago, her doctor recommended St. Ann’s Community for rehab. When she and Fritz, devout Catholics, learned about St. Ann’s independent living options and full range of care, they decided to move to Cherry Ridge in Webster.

Last September, Fritz realized Joyce’s dementia had worsened, and she would wander off. He needed help keeping her safe and found it right on the Cherry Ridge campus at Rainier Grove Memory Care Center. Living there would allow Joyce to move about safely and retain as much independence as possible in a secure, caring environment.

“It was a tough decision to make after so many years, but if we have to live separately, this is a good way to do it,” said Fritz, who continues to live in an apartment at Cherry Ridge. “I know she’s safe here.”

Now that Joyce receives 24-hour supervision and care at Rainier Grove, Fritz can live worry-free and enjoy his time with his wife again.

Carrie Buckert, LPN, Director of Dementia Services at Rainier Grove, said her staff do their best to give Fritz as much tender loving care as they do Joyce.

“We love seeing Fritz and give him updates on Joyce and how she’s doing day to day,” Carrie said. “We also encourage him to join us for events and outings because he and Joyce are wonderful together. They keep each other young at heart.”

Even though he visits her every day and still takes her out for dinner on occasion, Fritz says Joyce worries that he won’t know where she is. He reassures her that “as soon as I arrive, three staff members say hello and tell me where you are, so there’s no danger of you getting lost!”

Fritz is grateful to be in a community that embraces them. “We’re all comrades here, making the most of the time we have,” he said. “There’s plenty for us to do here together.”

In his free time, Fritz enjoys tending the gardens in the Rainier Grove courtyard and hosting cookouts on sunny days. He also gets together with other Cherry Ridge residents to play poker.

Although Joyce’s memory continues to fade, her love for Fritz shines. Even after 60 years of marriage, they still hold each other’s hands tenderly and reminisce about their courtship. Then come the smiles and laughter, followed by quiet contentment.

“It’s been a good life.”

Joyce nodded in agreement. “If we can’t be in Louisiana, then I’m happy here because I’m with him.”

Rainier Grove Memory Care Center is located on the campus of St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge, Webster. For more information, call (585) 697-6720.

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