An elderly couple in New Brunswick, Canada, was forced apart just a week before Christmas. Both have been forced into separate long-term care facilities. Their daughter, Dianne Goodine Phillips posted on Facebook, writing “My parents have been together for a total of 73 years and still sleep in the same bed. I feel people need to know what a flawed system we have in place. Two words to describe it: unethical and cruel.” She posted this just a day before her parents were divided.
Herbert and Audrey Goodine had been living together for the past four years at a special care home in Perth-Andover, N.B. The couple has been married for 69 years and are 91 and 89 years old. Sadly, Christmas is over for the two because they can no longer spend it together. Herbert’s health is deteriorating, so the Department of Social Development told the family that he would have to be moved to a nursing home.
The couple was given three options, according to their daughter’s Facebook post. All three would make sure that Christmas is over for the couple. The first two options involved the couple staying together, but being moved to a nursing home more than two hours away from their family and friends. The third option was the one where Herbert is moved alone to a facility thirty minutes away in Plaster Rock, N.B.
All their daughter wanted was to ensure that Christmas IS NOT over for the couple. There was a fourth option. That was to extend her father’s residency in Perth-Andover until after Christmas. According to CTV news, the daughter was told that she would have to make the difficult decision that very same day….and she hesitated. She then noted that a Department of Social Development representative approached her parents and forced them to choose. Monday morning, Herbert was moved.
Dianne wrote on Facebook on Sunday, “My mother said ‘Christmas is over for us now and this is the worst Christmas that we will ever have. Why could they not have waited till after the holidays?’ I assured her that I tried everything to keep them together a few more days”. Dianne couldn’t bear hearing her mother crying and hearing her father in the background. It truly is heartbreaking. Today, Dianne’s heart-breaking Facebook post has been shared more than 11,000 times.
Although it breaks everyone’s heart that the couple said “Christmas is over”, a spokesperson for the Department of Social Development defended themselves. The spokesperson said, “Individuals who require a higher level of care than what can be provided in special care homes are moved to where their needs can be more appropriately met”. Everyone understands that, but what they don’t understand is separating the couple right before Christmas.
The Goodines’ daughter is furious that they refused to allow her parents to be together for Christmas. That is what is nonsensical here. She wrote, “My request during the day Friday was to simply extend my father’s residency until the end of this week. However, my repeated request was ignored”. Seeing the couple’s love for each other after so many years, it’s truly heartbreaking that they believe that Christmas is over for them. Hopefully, the family can think of something last minute to reunite the two together.
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