Lisa Raitt and Bruce Wood - The Humanness of Rehab

Written by:Alytx , March 14th


The importance of technology in helping revolutionize the world of rehab is both fascinating and promising to help in providing better care for those receiving rehabilitation. But there's another factor that always has to be considered regardless of how far technology goes in addressing the worlds problems; the human factor. For every data point collected, there's a human story, a human interaction, a human being that has unique personal experiences and challenges they face on a regular basis. The humanness of Rehab is perhaps no better exemplified than when we look in our community and see fellow citizens going through it.

Lisa Raitt is an accomplished Canadian politician who served as a member of Parliament for over a decade from 2008 to 2019. Mrs.Raitt has a decorated history of serving Canadians in government. On November 29th, 2020, CBC published an article documenting the family's journey following the diagnosis and the impact it has had on their life. In the CBC article, Mrs. Raitt displays not only an incredible show of strength and unconditional love, but also an openness and willingness to be vulnerable in sharing her husband's story.

In the CBC article, Mrs. Raitt discusses the sleepless nights, noting that her husband will often wake up restless (CBC News, 2020). She also discusses times when she's had to move downstairs to sleep on the couch and has needed to distance herself when he becomes agitated. Prior to the diagnosis in 2016, there were earlier signs indicating that something was wrong. After the Parliament Hill shooting, Lisa was surprised that her husband didn't call to check if she was okay. She realized after that this was because of the disease, not because of Bruce. In an interview shortly after diagnosis, Bruce mentioned that he consistently lost things and would have a hard time focusing at work, early signs that something was wrong.

Put yourself in the position of Lisa for a second, forced to see the person you love most in the world deal with a disease that changes his behaviour, his functionality and his level of independence. Think of the emotions that would be going through your head; confusion, anger, grief, disbelief, sadness. You have to hire caregivers to get additional help for mundane tasks that most of us don't even think twice about it. But while this seems to paint a grim picture, the story of Lisa Raitt and her family also highlights the other side of rehab, one that emphasizes hope and recovery. In the CBC interview, Lisa is quoted as saying, "But the cruelty of the disease means every few days, you might get 15 minutes of the clarify of what you once had in a relationship with your husband" (CBC News, 2020, p. 1). Lisa also highlighted the degree to which she relies on group therapy and online discussion forums where she can relate to other people going through a similar experience. The article also highlights that unless you're actually going through this experience, you really can't relate it. Now if all of that isn't an example highlighting the humanness of rehab, then I don't know what is.

So all this to say, behind every data interaction is a real person, a real story like Lisa and Bruce's. Their story might seem to be one of sadness, but the way in which Lisa has handled the life-changing diagnosis of her husband isn't only admirable, it's a portrait of courage. It's an example of someone looking rehab in the face and saying bring it on, I'm with my loved one all the way as they fight through this. Lisa and Bruce serve as an inspiration for all family, team members and clients themselves who don't know how to move forward.


Lisa Raitt on taking care of her husband as he struggles with young-onset Alzheimer's | CBC Radio, (2020, November 29). Retrieved November 30, 2020, from 

Lisa Raitt opens up about husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis [Video file], CTV News, (2018, May 8). Retrieved November 30, 2020, from

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