Search
Close this search box.
Don & Barbara's Story
2 MIN READ

Don and Barbara met on a blind date in 1956. “Which is ironic,” says Don, “because I wasn’t blind then.”
When he was 40, Don was on a fishing trip with friends when he suddenly lost vision in his right eye. Through multiple doctor’s visits and surgeries, Don was told he would lose sight in both of his eyes due to something called retinal detachment.

Though his diagnosis meant many hard days ahead for both him and Barbara, Don remained strong in his faith and in his sense of humour. Now 85, Don cares for his 83-year-old wife despite his vision loss. Barbara was diagnosed with dementia and required round-the-clock care.

Having always been “modest,” as Don describes it, Barbara was not comfortable with just anyone helping her, so she relied heavily on him for support. For Don, it was a labour of love as he helped Barbara with almost all of her daily activities.

For most of their marriage, they lived in a house in Burlington where they raised their son. Eventually, Barbara was no longer able to use the stairs, and the pair moved into an apartment.
Thanks to United Way and donors like you, Don and Barbara had help in that mission from a volunteer who shopped for groceries, cooked meals, attended medical appointments and completed other household and personal care tasks.

Don and Barbara described their volunteer as “part of the family.” They also had support in navigating the social service programs in their community. A program coordinator offered options like friendly visiting, assistance with transportation and suggested a day respite program to allow Don a break from his care-giving responsibilities.

Don and Barbara had not expected to need this level of support, but they were glad it is available. “How grateful I am that Canada has these types of organizations,” Don said. “We are so fortunate to live here and have this help. If our care workers weren’t there, if people didn’t understand … well, it’s a lonely life.”

Fortunately, that help is available. “The volunteers make a world of difference in our lives. Without these people, I would have a world of blackness.”

Thanks to your support, Don and Barbara continued with their lives where they belong – together. “What can I say?” says Don. “She’s the love of my life.”

CATEGORIES
LAST UPDATED

Similar Stories

“I started my relationship with the agency four years ago. I was attending a program to learn about computers and someone suggested I could have lunch at the senior’s centre in the same building as the school. I was served delicious lunches and was able to participate in activities. The centre gives seniors a sense of independence and a chance to have a social life. They make them feel important.
As a newcomer, Sebastian found himself struggling in school and trying to learn English. Now, five years later, he is volunteering at the United Way-supported agency and serving as a leader to newcomers arriving today. His family emigrated from there home country when Sebastian was seven. “It was because of the state my country was in. It wasn’t the greatest in terms of safety. We were shot at one day when going to my grandma’s house, and I think that’s what led my parents to finally make the decision to immigrate.”
Share
Tweet
Post
Email