Doug and Gwen's Story

Doug and Gwen on their wedding day.

Doug and Gwen on their wedding day.

Doug realized that he needed help caring for his wife, Gwen, when he got a phone call from his neighbour in the middle of the night about two and half years ago.  “Doug, you’ve got to come and get Gwen.  She’s here at our house.”

Doug rolled over and was surprised to discover Gwen wasn’t asleep beside him as she should’ve been.

Gwen’s dementia had gotten progressively worse, and when that phone call came, Doug knew their lives would never be the same.

“It’s changed my life around.  I don’t control my life anymore.  I have very little say in what I can do and when I can do it,” explains Doug.  To prevent future wandering, Doug had to install double key locks on all of the doors in their home.  It was the beginning of more changes to come.  “I’ve had to give up playing in a golf league that I started.  I’ve had to reduce my involvement in the Probus Club of Burlington, which I belong to.  Being her caregiver has really affected me, especially in the last year.”

Help Doug care for the love of his life, donate today.


Doug and Gwen have relied on a variety of Acclaim Health’s services to help them cope.

Gwen attends the day program for seniors with dementia in Burlington two days a week.  “She’s always happy when she comes out of the program, and it gives me two days a week to myself so that I can catch up on things.”  Gwen also has a volunteer who visits once a week to provide a bit of extra support.

To learn how to care for Gwen and how to survive life as a caregiver, Doug began attending our information sessions and meeting with other caregivers in our support groups.  “Just being able to talk to other people who are going through the same thing is helpful, and it’s helped me try to accept what’s happening to Gwen.”

Doug is thankful for the support he and Gwen have received.  “Without it, it would’ve been hell.  With it, it’s allowed me to carry on being her caregiver.  Otherwise, she’d be in long term care, and I just can’t get used to the idea of being separated.  We’ve been married for 58 years.  The day she does have to go into long term care will be very upsetting.”

“Acclaim Health is doing such a great job for Gwen.  And by caring for Gwen, Acclaim Health is helping me.” That’s why Doug donates, and he encourages other people to do the same.  “I don’t ever want to see the day program falter.  Whatever I can do, I’ll try to help.”