Elderly Rose Prairie couple being separated; family fighting to keep them together

Len Copeland (93) and his wife Jean Copeland (91) will be separated because Len has to be put into extended care. They have never been separated. Photo Credit: Bob Way

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – This story might bring back to mind another story in the Lower Mainland of a elderly couple being forced to be separated because the homes they were in couldn’t accommodate them together.

A family that has roots in Rose Prairie, which is just north of Fort St John, is fighting to keep their parents together after they are being forced to be separated.

Len Copeland, 92, helped build the Alaska Highway. His wife of 71 years Jean Copeland, is a former teacher.

They have never been separated.

Marj Copeland is Len and Jean’s daughter. She says she feels that it might be too late to get anyone to help or do anything about her parents being separated.

“My parents have been married 70 years this past February. Now it is time for Father to go into extended care, yet it is said Mother isn’t ready, so they will be pulled apart after 70 years….. How is it that we aren’t set up to accommodate couples that have been together this long???? SO WRONG, SO, SO, WRONG….. They have never been apart and my Dad will be so lost without Mom.. I think there should be exceptions in cases like this. Please share this and get it out there.”

Marj says that she hopes other families don’t have to go through this. Her farther suffers from dementia. She says her mom is wheelchair bound as well. They have been taking care of each other. She also says her dad has been falling and getting lost so he has to go into extended care. She says her mother will now be on her own and they aren’t sure she can care for herself. As her children, they say she will not be okay on her own.

“I just feel that our health care should have rooms available for couples , not pull them apart after 70 years.”