Super Seniors: Dan Bean and Jeanette Voss

By  | 

SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) Once a week Dan Bean and Jeanette Voss go on a pilgrimage. Not to a church, but to The Arbors at Shelburne, a memory-loss facility.

"We're going to do communion out here this morning," Voss said. "Really brings people together, which I love."

She gives communion to the Catholic residents. Dan is here to help. The married couple are here to comfort not just the body, but the soul.

"God is love and whomever remains in love remains in God and God in him," Bean says to those gathered for the service.

"George, would you like communion?" Voss asks a resident. "The Body of Christ. Amen. I'll give it to you. Ok, there we go."

Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you think they are getting anything out of this?
Jeanette Voss: I'm sure they are... My personal feeling is that, where God is present to us, he's present to them.

The Arbors hits home for Dan. His younger brother Larry is a resident. But it goes even deeper.

"Well, I had the experience with my wife. I was her caregiver for nine years," Bean said.

Joanne was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at just 59. Bean cared for her until she died at 70.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Isn't it difficult coming here and seeing what you experienced?
Dan Bean: Not really... Coming here is trying to help the people who are going what she went through.

At 26, Joanne's husband, Jerry, was diagnosed with what the doctors called pre-maturing aging of the arteries.

"So when the arteries start shutting down there's a lot of pain and eventually there is no more blood circulation," Voss explained.

Jerry died at 40 and Jeanette became a single parent raising four young kids.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Losing spouses, did you ever question your faith?
Dan Bean: No.
Jeanette Voss: Never. Because without it, I wouldn't have survived.

Not surprisingly, Voss says both met at church. "If you go to mass and there's only 12 or 15 people, he makes sure he knows who he doesn't already know," she said.

Their first date was ballroom dancing. Bean didn't have to sweep her off her feet. She already admired him. "How do I say this... but the love that I saw with my husband and myself and Dan and Joanne, is the kind I could connect with," Voss said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You said 'yes' right away?
Jeanette Voss: Yes, of course. I knew I would.

In December the couple will have been married for 15 years. At their house not far from The Arbors, pictures of Dan and Joanne along with Jeanette and Jerry share space on the mantel.

"You can come out of it ok, as I seemed to have, or you can carry a lot of grief," Bean said.

Proving that from the darkest times there can be light.