The Saddest Goodbye - Forcing elderly couple to live in separate nursing homes

  1. Wolf and Anita Gottschalk who have been married for 62 years have been forced to live apart for the last 8 months as they have been admitted to separate nursing homes located 40 minutes apart. Although their health situations place them at different levels of care, their granddaughter is desperately trying to reunite the couple.

    Heartbreaking goodbye...



    Have you encountered similar situations? How does holistic care.....caring for the patient's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs come into play here? Or isn't that considered a factor by those making healthcare decisions for the elderly?
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 20, '16
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Here.I.Stand
    That makes me want to cry.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Have only ever encountered couples in the same home. One, though, required that the husband be in a room at the opposite end of the facility from his wife because he would assault her. Staff always had to be on the lookout for him sneaking down to her room and starting a ruckus. Better that, than what this story describes. Heartbreaking.
  5. by   LadysSolo
    I have seen it where they cannot be in the same room because one tries to take care of the other and it isn't safe. I have one resident who is in assisted living and her husband is in skilled care, so they are on different floors but in the same facility. Someone had to arrange for this, patients are not admitted to Nursing Homes without a POA signature.
  6. by   clord300
    Yes I've seen it. I work in a memory care unit of an assisted living facility, and one of the residents is "physically healthy", but her mind is completely gone from dementia. Her husband lives in a skilled nursing facility on the other side of town due to physical health issues. We have several memory care residents whose spouses live on different floors (just regular assisted living).
  7. by   Orphan RN
    Horrible. People getting lost in the shuffle of healthcare. Seeing their plight is enough to make anyone howl in misery.

    If Wolf can't go to Anita's facility then why not move Anita to Wolf's instead? Or perhaps another facility that will accept them both as a set? Because they are a set.

    Too bad they couldn't have remained in their own home and received care their instead. The rich can afford this, but the costs for the average American are just out of reach. I hope this changes eventually.

    What can we do to help bring them together again soon? Is there something collectively we on AN could do? Anything at all?
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    So wrong!!!
  9. by   annabanana2
    Quote from Orphan RN
    Horrible. People getting lost in the shuffle of healthcare. Seeing their plight is enough to make anyone howl in misery.

    If Wolf can't go to Anita's facility then why not move Anita to Wolf's instead? Or perhaps another facility that will accept them both as a set? Because they are a set.

    Too bad they couldn't have remained in their own home and received care their instead. The rich can afford this, but the costs for the average American are just out of reach. I hope this changes eventually.

    What can we do to help bring them together again soon? Is there something collectively we on AN could do? Anything at all?
    They are Canadian. Health care is obviously a bit different up here. From what I've read their care needs are significantly different - one is (from what it sounds like) assisted-living level and the other has significant dementia and requires specialized care for that. They are currently awaiting placement in the same facility but it's a slow process even just trying to find a bed that's a good fit for ONE person, let alone TWO. I guarantee you there is a case manager in an office tearing their hair out trying to figure this out, not to mention endless meetings.
  10. by   DoGoodThenGo
    Just goes to show that everything old is new again.

    Back in the days of work/poor houses this sort of thing happened all the time. The sexes were segregated and if that meant separating elderly married couples that had been together for decades, so be it.... It was one of the reasons many would have rather died than seek assistance from such places.

    Part of the problem today is so much care is specialized and or carved out of this or that particular laws/rules. Couples living in "healthy and active" senior living communities can and have been separated when one develops a condition requiring skilled nursing care. In their defense facilities state they do not employ the staff nor are often licensed to provide such care.
  11. by   VXD4722
    My family recently went through a somewhat similar scenario with my grandparents (although in Ontario, not BC). After 60+ years of marriage they were still living at home, despite my grandfather's increasing memory problems/dementia and my grandmother's failing physical health. They worked perfectly together at home for the most part (my grandma was the "brains" and my grandfather was the "brawn"). Eventually it came time to look into an assisted living facility for them, and we were lucky enough to find a 2 bedroom apartment for them in assisted living.

    Pretty soon after moving into this facility my grandmother's health deteriorated even more rapidly and she required a higher level of care than the assisted living apartment could provide. Fortunately, a nearby facility owned by the same company had two rooms open up at the same time, just down the hall from one another. After a lot of negotiating and advocating on behalf of my grandparents, they accepted both so they didn't have to be separated (even though my grandfather probably didn't need the higher level of care at the time).

    My grandmother passed away shortly after the move to the second facility, but I know that my whole family is SO so thankful that my grandfather was able to be living just down the hall during her last days. He spent nearly every moment with her in her room at the end of her life, which would not have been possible if they were separated in different facilities.

    I sincerely hope that Wolf and Anita can be reunited soon. I saw how important it was for my grandparents to remain together and can only imagine how devastating it must be for them (and their family) to be separated like this.

close