N.S. senior couple fighting to spend final years together
Published Saturday, February 20, 2016 6:58PM AST
Last Updated Sunday, February 21, 2016 10:15AM AST
An elderly Maritime couple and their family are facing the possibility of spending their final years separated after 70 years of marriage.
Both Harold, 92, and Virginia Cameron, 90, need around-the-clock care. Harold is a Second World War veteran and can be admitted to the Camp Hill Veterans’ Memorial Hospital in Halifax, however, Virginia doesn't qualify.
“It’s the fact that there's empty beds in the Camp Hill hospital,” said daughter Pamela Campbell. “My father is a World War II veteran, my mother has stood by his side all these years. She moved from England, came here as a war bride – that's where they should be."
“It would kill them to be separated.”
Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Building only admits Second World War and Korean War veterans. Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine said the issue of veteran care is one he will be taking on.
“When our 2017 five-year continuing care strategy comes out, that will be addressed,” said Glavine. “Couples should be together for the final days and years of their life.”
In a statement to CTV, the Nova Scotia Health Authority says Camp Hill does not operate publically funded or licensed nursing home beds, adding "we would need a license and funding from the Department of Health and Wellness to do this."
The family has started an online petition to change those rules.
“Ideally we would want our grandparents to stay together in their final years, but it’s also about building some awareness so this doesn’t happen to other people,” said granddaughter Gina Bell.
The couple's family is emphasizing their gratefulness for all the help they've received from Veterans’ Affairs, but are asking for compassion when it comes to couples who have spent their whole lives together.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says they couldn't talk about the specifics of their case, but in other instances, veterans have chosen to live in publically-funded care facilities.
For the Cameron’s, they’re left remembering the good times.
“It was love at first sight for him and for me, I guess,” said Virginia.
A love story that family wants to give a happy ending.
“I’ve had a lovely life; my life has been blessed,” said Virginia.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kelly Linehan.