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After a couple spent the majority of their lives together – a full 63 years as a loving couple – the nursing home they lived in was dead-set on ripping them apart. With just one simple wish, to live out the rest of their lives together, the old Irish couple Michael and Kathleen Devereaux might have been married for 63 years, but their nursing home had other plans for them. With is wife in another part of the home, 90 year old Michael is forced to spend lonely nights waiting for dawn to arrive. He just sits in bed hopelessly missing his wife and feeling powerless to do anything about it because the cruel nursing home administrators forced them apart.
While he sits alone in bed, Michael can only turn to God for comfort. But in truth, he wants the earthly comfort of his wife more than anything – and after 63 happy years together who can blame him.
“I pray and then I cry,” Devereaux said of his sleepless nights. “It’s terrible.”
The Devereauxes share one simple wish – to spend the rest of their days together. They are old and near the end of their lives and should be given that much – but the nursing home enforces their strict rules and refuses to let the two love birds near each other.
America is filled with nursing home injustice. Ireland has instituted a “Fair Deal Scheme” to financially support aging citizens who need long-term nursing home care. Program participants pay what they can and the Fair Deal pays the rest of the bill. It sounds good on paper, but Michael and Kathleen are learning how cruel the scheme really is.
Michael was welcomed into the program in April. But Kathleen was denied access because she can still live independently. While they don’t have enough money to live in their own home – especially with a full-time nurse to care for Michael, the couple has been separated for the first time in six decades.
Their son Tom admits that his mom “needs care night and day.” And Tom feels helpless in helping his mom live a normal life. He and the rest of the family don’t have the skill or money to make sure she lives as safe existence. And Tom knows that the only adequate place for Kathleen is beside her husband in the state-funded nursing home.
“They’re in their twilight years,” Tom Devereaux said of his parents. “At the ages they’re at obviously they’re not going to live too long.
Although the Irish program has helped a lot of seniors afford care, the Devereaux have a unique problem. And their case has reached the Minster of Health, Simon Harris. Harris contacted the Health Service Executive and told them to reunite Michael and Kathleen. He wants the Irish government to act from compassion.
Because the Irish government offers health care, Kathleen has been accepted into the same program as her husband. They will finally be reunited and able to resume their 63 year long love affair.
“The HSE have confirmed that my mother can go and join her husband in the nursing home,” Tom Devereaux stated, who spoke with Simon Harris himself. “It will be as soon as possible.”
The family is overjoyed to hear the good news. But Michael is the happiest of all.
“We just love each other,” Michael Devereaux said.
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