Ken Henley and Anne Graeper found love in Heaton Place Retirement Community in Armstrong. (Contributed)

Ken Henley and Anne Graeper found love in Heaton Place Retirement Community in Armstrong. (Contributed)

Armstrong retirement community residents find love in COVID-19

Ken Henley and Anne Graerper grew closer amidst the pandemic

It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for the love bug to bite.

Whether you’re 32, 72, or 92, it’s never too late to fall in love.

Just ask Ken Henley and Anne Graeper, who each began noticing one another in late January of this year.

The two had seen each other come and go over the past year and a bit, but the connection wasn’t made until recently.

“It started when I would wave to her in the dining room.It brought a smile to her face and mine,” Ken said.

When Valentine’s Day rolled around, Ken would place hearts on her placemat in the dining room and even left her a heart on her suite door.

And so the romance began.

Little by little, with caution, Anne slowly began to let the walls come down and allowed the possibility of love enter her heart.

The two connected just prior to a unique time in history. Social distancing is the message we hear strongly these days; perhaps physical distancing would be a better term. As for these two, COVID-19 bridged the gap.

One of the positives that I have witnessed over these past few months of masks, isolation, and distancing is the residents of Heaton Place Retirement Residence have grown closer to one another.

Throughout the summer, it would not be odd to see several seniors visiting in the front entrance of our building – those who in the past had no connection with one another.

As for Ken and Anne, well, they have spent days getting to know each other more personally. It wasn’t until COVID-19 came along and protective protocols were put into place at Heaton that they began to spend more time getting to know each other.

“I never thought finding a companion to enjoy life’s moments would come at 92 years of age,” Anne said.

Of the many activities that Heaton Place offers, sitting around a poker table has been one that both Ken and Anne have participated in since they moved in. We often have entertainment, slideshows, card games and more going on for our residents, so there is always something to engage in. You never have to feel alone at Heaton Place.

“Our recent connection has given us more reason to stick around,” Ken said.

When I asked the two if they were falling in love, they both looked at each other and giggled.

“We smooch a lot,” Ken said. “So, I guess you can say we are!”

Both Ken and Anne lost their spouses five years ago, and had resolved to the fact that they would live the rest of their days out single, but, the universe had a different plan for them.

Anne has her suite and two doors down, Ken has his.

“I like the fact that neither of us interferes with each other’s affairs,” Anne said.

“Rather, we spend time playing crib, going for walks and snuggling on the couch watching sports! We even got busted smooching in the hallways,” she said with a chuckle.

When I asked them if they had a message to share, they simply said: “Enjoy life the best you can and be grateful.”

It has been a pleasure to watch these two grow in friendship.

Thanks to them, I have hope for myself.

This article was contributed to the Morning Star by Heaton Place Retirement Community resident relations coordinator Carrie O’Neill.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

This is the third year Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz have picked up cans in the backcountry and donated the proceeds to COSAR. (Central Okanagan Search and Rescue)
Kelowna couple cleans forests for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz donated $3,200 to COSAR

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

The roof is rising at the Okanagan Wealth Advisors Pickleball Complex at Marshall Field (Nov. 30, 2020). (Contributed)
Raising the roof over Vernon Pickleball courts

Upon completion, Vernon will be home to country’s biggest dedicated Pickleball courts

Kimberly Feeny, left, rescues, fosters and homes cats with the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program. She and friend Lisa Valenta, right, spent Friday, Nov. 27 nursing seven resuced kitties at Feeny’s home in Grand Forks. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Kootenay women working to rescue 20 cats in feral colony

Kimberly Feeny and Lisa Valenta are nursing seven cats rescued east of Grand Forks, B.C.

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sunny the cat, who jumped out of the truck at the Revelstoke Landfill earlier this month, was quickly reunited with his owners. (Contributed)
Cat returns home with the help of two landfill workers

Sunny jumped out of the truck at the landfill in November

Most Read