Out in the Open

Forced to choose between caring for your father or your spouse

When Denyse Lynch’s husband became ill, she made the hard decision to put her father in a home.
Denise Lynch and her father (Courtesy of Denise Lynch)

Denyse Lynch's elderly father had been living with her and her spouse for about four years when things started becoming unmanageable.

Denyse's father slowly required more daily care, like bathing and dressing, at a time when her husband became ill. Her husband acquired a rare eye condition that left him unable to function for a few years.

"I was like, 'Ok, I'm still having to care for my dad but then the big concern was my husband'...I was anxious. I was, 'Wow, how am I going to cope with this?'" 

"I just remember it being an exhausting time," says Denyse. 
Denise Lynch, with her husband Terry and her father. (Courtesy of Denise Lynch)

They tried homecare for her dad but Denyse says they had negative experiences. 

When Denyse's father originally moved in with her, he was worried about becoming an imposition. So, they agreed that when he needed more care than she could provide, they would look into a senior's residence.

But when the time came, it was really hard for Denyse and her dad.

"That was probably one of the worst conversations I've ever had in my life. I thought that I was abandoning my father."

Looking back Denyse says she doesn't feel like she had any other choice. 

"I think we did the best we could with what we had."