Dancing Through Alzheimer’s

Throughout their 61-year marriage Richard and Arlene Boyd used to dance together every weekend. Then she got Alzheimer’s. Now the couple is back on the dance floor.

Alzheimer’s may have slowed Arlene Boyd down, but her caregiver and husband of 61 years, Richard, makes sure it doesn’t stop their tradition of dancing together every Saturday night at the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here are pictures from their dancing journey. Read their story here.

Arlene and Richard, Circa 1954

1 of 9 Just Kids

Arlene and Richard were 16 and 18 when they met. Here they are a year into dating, at 17 and 19. “Do you dance?” He asked her on their first date at Dairy Queen. She said no. “I told her, ‘If we’re going to date, we’ll be dancing.'”  And they’ve been dancing together ever since.

Arlene and Richard on their wedding day

2 of 9 Arlene and Richard on their wedding day

Arlene and Richard were soon married and have enjoyed a life of wedded bliss.

Arlene at the Outrigger Hotel in 1987

3 of 9 Moving to Hawaii

The couple loved Hawaii so much, that they moved to Honolulu and have been there now for 30 years.

Arlene and Richard with their three sons.

4 of 9 A Family Affair

Arlene and Richard had three sons. Here they are at their son Larry’s wedding.

Arlene and Richard dancing

5 of 9 Dancing Through the Years

Every weekend in Detroit, they would go out dancing at jazz clubs in the Warehouse district for date night.

Richard and Arlene after Alzheimers diagnosis

6 of 9 Enduring love

After Arlene had survived throat cancer, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. Here they are in 2010, still in love.

Arlene and Richard dancing at the Kahala Hotel and Resort

7 of 9 A Return to Tradition

Four years ago, after their son died of pancreatic cancer, Arlene and Richard returned to their tradition of dancing together. Every Saturday night, they’re on the dance floor at the Kahala Hotel and Resort where jazz musician David Swanson is the headliner.


8 of 9 An Extended Family

Here they are, celebrating their 61st anniversary this year at the Kahala Hotel and Resort with jazz musician David Swanson who plays the couples favorites to dance to: “Thinking Out Loud,” by Ed Sheeran and “All of Me” by John Legend. When Arlene was in the hospital for pneumonia recently, their Kahala family showed up to check on her. 

Richard and Arlene

9 of 9 The Love Story Continues

At 79 and 81, Arlene and Richard have found a new normal after Alzheimer’s. No matter what changes, their love–and dancing!–remains.

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