Another couple separated by circumstance, unable to reunite in LTC

By Casey Taylor

As a local MPP continues to push the province to do more to keep spouses together in long-term care, another story about a pair of local seniors separated by circumstance.

Rod Corlett and Sandra Webster first moved to Guelph in 2019. The couple, aged 78 and 79 respectively, moved into a retirement apartment together but, unfortunately, the living arrangement didn't last long.

Family say Sandra fell ill in 2019 and was hospitalized before being moved to a long-term care home. Shortly after, Rod was also on the move but within the same building, into assisted living. He is also on a long-term care and reunification wait list.

“Problem is, because he is technically considered safe where he is, he kind of gets bumped by people on the crisis list,” said  Anna Webster-Gardiner, one of Rod and Sandra's three daughters. “They have to place people on the crisis list first — makes sense — the problem is the crisis list keeps growing.”

After nearly 50-years spent together since the couple first met in 1975 while both working at the University of Guelph, family say the couple have spent the last more than 14-months forced to live apart — all while they say Alzheimer's and loneliness now eat away at their dad's health too.

“He's simply just, day after day, consumed with where Sandra is and why he's not with her,” said Tonya Corlett-Tuck, another of the couple's daughters. “He some nights calls up to two, three o'clock in the morning wondering where he is, because he's forgot where he is, and where Sandra is and what he's done to cause all of this.”

The family says they're also now concerned their dad, as his own condition worsens, may ultimately die of a broken heart.

“Visits are good when we're there but the recall, as soon as we get him back to Arbour Trails he doesn't remember, and he is starting to get very agitated when we have to leave Sandra and he doesn't understand why that is happening,” Corlett-Tuck said. “It's heart-breaking. It's horrible to watch.”

Meantime, as for the 'Til Death Do Us Part Act' also seemingly stuck right now after having passed first reading in early September, the family suggested they're hopeful but not holding their breath.

“I am hopeful that this will change, not just for our parents but there's hundreds more out there in the same situation or worse,” said Corlett-Tuck. “I'm hopeful, but I'm very guarded with my hope.”


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