N.S. health minister offers hope to elderly couple forced to live apart
Published Wednesday, August 19, 2015 6:52PM EDT
An elderly couple who were forced into separate nursing homes last year have some hope after the Nova Scotia health minister said he will review the matter.
The family of Edgar MacPhee, 85, and his wife Theresa, 90, has been pleading with officials to help them live together again. They were forced to move into separate nursing homes last year.
Theresa lives at the Glen Haven Manor nursing in New Glasgow, while Edgar is at a hospital in Antigonish, about a half-hour drive away.
They were moved to different facilities to meet individual healthcare needs, but after 62 years of marriage, their family says they are miserable without one another.
Both are wheelchair-bound and thus need people to transport them so that they may see each other. When they do get together at the nursing home, Edgar isn’t allowed to stay the night.
Daughter Linda Richard says the family has done everything to get their parents into the same facility, but they’re always left with the same question: “After that many years, why can’t they be together?”
Now, the matter has caught the attention of a Nova Scotia’s health minister. Leo Glavine says his “very, very empathetic” to the couple’s plight, and is willing to take a look at the file.
“I am prepared to review any case that is of an individual nature that has special circumstances around it,” Glavine told CTV Atlantic.
There is a catch, however. The request must come from Edgar and Theresa, not their family members.
Nova Scotia Opposition leader Jamie Baillie said the government should not be forcing the couple to go through more “hoops.”
Baillie also said marital status should be factored into long-term healthcare decisions.
“Here’s a couple that’s been married 62 years, and because of a policy, we’re going to separate them? That’s not acceptable,” Baillie told CTV Atlantic.
Glavine said that the province will begin to factor marital status in to long-term health matters when the next phase of their healthcare strategy takes effect in the fall.
In the meantime, the MacPhees’ family said they will do whatever is necessary to help their parents make the request and get the review underway. And they are already reaching out to the minister’s office to see how the request must be filed.
Despite the separation anxiety, recent weeks have brought faint hope to Theresa, her daughter said.
“I found that in the last couple of weeks, when I told her I would be having an interview or some kind of a talk with CTV again, she got more hopeful,” Richard said.
With a report by CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko