Progressive Conservative MLA Barbara Adams today demanded Minister of Health Randy Delorey clarify the Liberal policy on separating senior couples who need long-term care, especially at the Veterans Memorial Building (VMB).
“This is a situation that calls for compassion, respect and common sense,” Adams said. “Every effort should be made to allow couples who have lived together for decades to continue living together in long-term care facilities. The Minister of Health has dragged his feet on this issue for too long.”
In October 2016, the PCs introduced legislation that would ensure seniors have the right to live in the same long-term care facility as their spouse. Leo Glavine, the Health Minister of the day, said the issue would be addressed in the continuing care strategy. That was almost three years ago and the problem persists.
“We have to do better,” Adams said. “After contributing to our province for years, seniors deserve to live their final days with dignity alongside their spouse. This is especially true for veterans who bravely sacrificed to serve our country.”
Last week, the family of John and Irene McCabe made the couple’s heartbreaking story public. Despite there being empty beds at Camp Hill, Irene didn’t have the option of moving in to the facility her husband lives in because Veterans Affairs won’t permit it. Veterans’ spouses aren’t allowed to live at the facility even if they’ve been approved for long-term care. People who are not veterans are allowed in the VMB on a short-term basis as they await long-term care elsewhere. Irene passed away at the end of May.
“The time for the federal and provincial governments to pass the buck on this issue is over,” former MP Peter Stoffer said. “If beds are available and spouses of veterans are eligible for long-term care, do the right thing and allow them both to be at the Veterans Memorial Building.”
Adams intends to re-introduce the Seniors Bill of Rights in the fall sitting of the Legislature.