IT'S a love story usually reserved for Hollywood.
A couple so in love they light up whenever they see each other - even after 49 years of marriage.
The only problem is, she can no longer communicate with him.
Betty Caple, 71, has dementia and is now a resident at the Tweed Heads Nursing Centre's "lavender retreat" ward.
"The hardest part is leaving her every day," husband Lennie, 75, explained.
"My son thinks she had it (dementia) a lot longer, but I couldn't see it. I was too close."
Mr Caple said he had to make the painful decision to put his wife into the centre last April.
"They tell me there's about 50-55 types of dementia," he said.
"Betty has lost most of her speech. Other people lose memory.
"They're doing lots of research but there's no way you can recover."
Mr Caple said he was thankful his wife still recognised him, their children and grandchildren.
"I'm not going anywhere, not while she still recognises me."
He said he spends most of his days keeping his wife company, going for walks and swims together.
"If it wasn't for her mental health, she would be as fit as a fiddle."
Mr Caple said his main advice for others coping with a loved one with dementia was to be accepting. "You've got to accept that you're going to lose them and you're going to have to change yourself a lot to fit in.
"You have to be accepting of them. They don't know what they're doing."
Dementia is not a disease, but rather an umbrella term for a variety of symptoms. It affects thinking, behaviour and everyday tasks.
People over 65 are most affected, but it's not a normal part of aging.
Most common types: Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and Parkinson's disease.
For information, visit fightdementia.org.au or call 1800 100 500.
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