A husband and wife who have spent almost a decade working together as nurses in Cambridgeshire are set to retire and open a care home of their own in Nigeria – where they first met at a nursing school around 45 years ago.
Askham Village Community, a social care provider based near March, has paid tribute to the pair ahead of their departure at the end of the month, describing them as the “life and soul” of the organisation.
“Ever since they first started with us, they have always been part of the life and soul of Askham”
Together, Isaac and Nikki Ajibade have 20 years of combined service at Askham and plan to use their experience as “a source of inspiration” to their approach running a new care home in their native country of Nigeria.
Askham Village Community is made up of several care homes which specialise in dementia care, palliative care, and rehabilitation for Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, spinal cord injury and acquired brain injury.
Mr Ajibade is currently the longest serving lead nurse at Askham and specialises in long-term degenerative conditions of young people. Meanwhile, Ms Ajibade is a specialist nurse in dementia care.
Speaking of the couple’s service, Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, director at the centre, said: “Isaac and Nikki are Askham institutions.
“They have been with us for many years and to be honest I can’t imagine Askham without them. Their legacy will be here for years to come.
“Ever since they first started with us, they have always been part of the life and soul of Askham.”
She noted how as lead nurse Mr Ajibade had “witnessed the many high and lows of working in social care, but has always remained focussed on providing the very best care for his residents”.
In addition, she said Ms Ajibade had been “just as dedicated to her dementia residents” and that “her personality shines through in all she does”.
This had been especially true during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when Ms Ajibade had been what Ms Nasser described as “a true solider”.
Ms Ajibade had motivated her team and ensured her residents were “comfortable amidst incredibly trying circumstances”, added Ms Nasser.
“We will be using Askham as a source of inspiration for our approach – with a key focus being on the real sense of togetherness we feel here”
“On behalf of everyone associated with Askham, we can’t thank both of them enough for all the vulnerable people they have provided excellent care for, and the countless staff they have empowered and led and supported over their years here,” she said.
The couple, who were married in 1979 having met at a school of nursing in Nigeria in 1976, have lived and worked in the UK for 19 years.
They are now set to retire at the end of the month and will open a care home in Nigeria founded on the same model as Askham.
The new home will cater for 18 residents and will provide nursing and dementia care, with plans to provide neurological care in the future too.
Mr Ajibade said: “We will be using Askham as a source of inspiration for our approach – with a key focus being on the real sense of togetherness we feel here.
“Askham’s owners care for the place, for the staff, for the residents and it’s this we want to emulate ourselves in Nigeria.”
He added: “To care for people, you need to be compassionate. People need help and I’m always very happy when I’m helping people.”