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Norman and Mae Davis’s trial by separation ended Wednesday, when the two were reunited at Granite Ridge Care Community, a long-term health-care facility in Stittsville, Ont.
Married in 1945, Norman and Mae, 94 and 91 respectively, had never been apart until this month, when provincial health regulations split them up for what at the time was looking to be at the very least a three-month wait. Instead, those regulations were bent and the couple spent just three weeks apart.
“I’m so happy,” said Nancy Burgoin, the couple’s daughter. “Dad was worried that something was going to happen to him before they’d be together again. But we’d take her in to visit each day and it was like they were courting again. He’d sit and hold her hand all the time and tell her how much he loved her and that he could hardly wait for her to be there. It was so sweet, like old times, like they always were.”
The Davises had been living together in a nearby seniors’ residence, Stittsville Manor and had their names on waiting lists to get into a long-term health-care facility. Both had chosen Granite Ridge as their first choice.
But when a room became available for Mae just before Christmas, her family faced a dilemma. If she moved to Granite Ridge, her husband, who requires greater care, would then be classified as an emergency placement and face a strong possibility of being moved to a facility in Almonte. So Mae turned down the room in the hope that Norman might get one at Granite Ridge before her.
But by voluntarily rejecting the offer of a room, Mae was told that her name would be removed from the waiting lists of all five facilities she had chosen, and that she wouldn’t be allowed to re-apply for three months. Norman, meanwhile, learned on Dec. 29 that a room was available at Granite Ridge. He moved there on Jan. 3.
Within a week of their story appearing in the Sun, the couple learned from the Community Care Access Centre, the provincial agency overseeing such matters, that Mae’s name was put back on the waiting list, retroactive to the date Norman moved to Granite Ridge. Then on Jan. 17 they learned that a room was available for Mae, on the same floor as Norman’s.
And while Burgoin is delighted with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s decision to intervene to get her parents reunited sooner, she’d still like to see the rules permanently changed so others don’t face the same ordeal.
“I’m very grateful and very pleased. But how many couples are out there who don’t have children, or don’t have children who are in a position to do something about it? That’s not right. And nobody else should have to go through this. It’s not fun.”