Syd & Sonia Coburn - A Love StorySyd is a warm person whose eyes light up when he speaks of the love of his life, Sonia. Syd and Sonia's love has changed over the years due to a terminal disease that affects over 500,000 Canadians. Sonia has vascular dementia and has been slowly progressing through the stages of the disease since she was 68 years old. Sonia has called Nanaimo Travellers Lodge home for the past six years, a place where Syd knows she receives the highest level of compassionate dementia care. After a long journey with dementia Sonia recently passed away in the Fall of 2012.
A diagnosis of dementia can devastate a relationship. For both people involved, a person you once knew and loved becomes someone you barely recognize. When Sonia was first diagnosed with dementia, Syd went through a terrible time. He thought his life couldn't get any worse - and then the disease progressed and he realized that dementia's unpredictable nature takes your emotions on a wild ride.
Throughout the trials of this unforgiving disease, Syd has stood by Sonia. First, he cared for her at home, and then he and Sonia tried a few long-term care facilities before he finally knew that Nanaimo Travellers Lodge was the home he wanted for Sonia.
Syd visits his love, Sonia daily and spends hours with her at Travellers Lodge. Sonia has lost most of her vocal ability, is unable to walk, and is often unresponsive, but she surprises Syd from time to time, telling a joke and laughing like a teenager. Syd calls Sonia the most beautiful woman in the world, a declaration that makes him well-known at the Lodge for being the kind of doting spouse that all the staff wish they had.
Syd feels that Nanaimo Travellers Lodge is a wonderful place, where the staff members truly care about the Elders who live there. It is often the little things that make a difference in Sonia's life and that help him to cope a bit better. The staff know that Sonia has a stuffed animal collection that she loves and, before she falls asleep every night, they ensure she has one of the animals beside her to keep her company.
This admirable couple's journey through dementia has been difficult, but with the support of Travellers Lodge, Syd and Sonia's love stays strong.