Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine says he is willing to take a look at the case of an elderly couple separated because of differing health care needs.

“I’m very, very empathetic to what had taken place here,” he says. “I am prepared to review any case that is of an individual nature that has special circumstances around it.”

Theresa MacPhee, 90, and her husband Edgar, 85, have been married for 62 years. Theresa lives at the Glen Haven Manor nursing home in New Glasgow. Edgar is at a hospital in Antigonish, about a half-hour drive away. Edgar cannot live in Theresa’s nursing home because his health care needs are too great.

“I always felt lonesome,” says Theresa.

Daughter Linda Richard says the family has done everything to get their parents in the same facility, but have gotten nothing but the runaround.

“After that many years, why can’t they be together?” she asks.

Nova Scotia opposition leader Jamie Baillie says it isn’t rational to ask anything of a 90-year-old woman and her 85-year-old husband.

“Let’s not put them through any more of these hoops,” he says. 

Baillie says marital status needs to be factored in when long-term care decisions are made.

“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,” says Baillie.

The request has to come from the MacPhees themselves, not the family members.

Linda says the family will do whatever it takes to help their parents make the request and the get the review underway.

“When I told [Theresa] I would be having an interview or some kind of a talk with CTV again, she’d gotten more hopeful,” says Linda. “I think I made her more hopeful. I hope I did, anyway.”

The family has reached out to the minister’s office to see how the request has to be made.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.