For nearly seven decades Herbert and Audrey Goodine have shared a bed, a room, and a life together. But now, one week before Christmas, the couple has been separated due to Herbert's progressing dementia.
For the past three and a half years, the couple has lived at Victoria Villa Special Care Home in New Brunswick, Canada, but after a recent health assessment, officials deemed Herbert, 91, in need of a higher level of care than the home could provide. Only days after his evaluation, Herbert was moved to a new home 45 minutes away from his wife of 69 years.
"Christmas is a time where everybody enjoys themselves but this is not the happiest time of my life," Herbert told Global News. "If they had left me with my wife where I was, it would have been."
Moving from a group setting to a private room has been hard for Herbert, especially without Aubrey, 89, whom he said he fell in love with the moment he first saw her.
"You'd laugh if you knew how I met her. I still laugh about it myself," he said. "I was out of my house-of my flat-and I looked through the crack in the wall and I seen her. And I never forget it."
The couple's daughter Dianne Phillips tried to postpone Herbert's move until after Christmas, but she wrote on Facebook that her request was ignored.
"For them to pull him out the week before Christmas was not right," Dianne said. "It's mentally and emotionally hard on them. To me, it's senior abuse."
Victoria Villa owner and operator Jennifer Eagan said that the transition occurred quickly because "once a resident is beyond our care, we're not equipped to look after them so it becomes a big safety concern for that resident." Because the home is a Level 2 facility, Eagan said it would actually be against the law for Herbert to remain there.
Dianne said she understands her father needs a higher level of care but was upset that her parents could not remain together until after Christmas. Herbert and Audrey will be spending the holiday together at Dianne's home in Fredericton, but after that visits will be more difficult to arrange.
Dianne has reached out to the Department of Social Development to find a solution for her parents and is waiting to discuss their situation. The family's hope for Herbert and Audrey is to find a way for them to move to their hometown of Perth, so they can live out the rest of their lives together.
(h/t Global News)
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