Authorities Force Elderly Couple To Separate After 69 Years Of Marriage

Elderly Couple. Hospice
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A lot of things that happen in life are unfair and honestly, don’t make sense. In a world where we like to fantasize over happily ever after, a lot of truly unhappy things happen, such as a 69-year-old marriage that is being forced to separate (1). A couple that has been together for 73 years is being forced to separate after a decision regarding their nursing home placement (1). Here is all you should know!

Healthy Marriage Is Good For Couples

Despite the fact that remarkably few people stick to it, marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment. According to the Marriage Psychological Association, “Marriage and divorce are both common experiences. In Western cultures, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50. Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher” (2).

Marriage is so common in the United States that people are shocked to hear of marriages that have lasted for 15 years, let alone 69! Divorce rates are higher now than ever before, but while many couples voluntarily separate due to wide ranges of reasons, some separations occur quite involuntarily (1)!

Is Separation Of Elderly Couples Fair Or Cruel?

In the case of 89-year-old Audrey Goodine and 91-year-old Herbert Goodine, no separation was desired. The couple has been together for 73 years and married for a full 69 of them (1). After nearly seven decades, the pair remained entirely devoted to the other, romantically in love, offering inspiration to many romance-lovers and long-term-marriage hopefuls (1).

The couple had been staying together in the Victoria Villa Special Care Home, a place that had been their main residence for a period of three years, and where they were reasonably happy keeping each other company in their old age. Their tiny little paradise was not to last, however, as doctors made the unfortunate discovery that Herbert’s dementia was increasingly getting worse (1).

In response to Herbert’s worsening health, the home administration decided to relocate Herbert to a location they saw as more suitable, a decision that was intended to benefit Herbert but that would have devastating consequences on his marriage (1). After the move, Herbert would likely never see Audrey again (1).

Aubrey and Herbert were devastated by the news, and their family was outraged (1). After a remarkable 73 years together, any sort of separation – especially a forced one – would in no way be accepted easily, if accepted at all (1). Dianne Phillips, Audrey and Herbert’s daughter, was informed of the administration’s decision via a formal email sent from the nursing home (1). The notification came just a week before Christmas, an act of cruelty Dianne could not comprehend (1). Despite efforts, she made to have her father’s residency extended, at least until the end of the week, the Victoria Villa Special Care Home denied her, obviously not caring that they were forcing this life-long couple to separate mere days before the holiday (1).

The nursing home owner made it clear that Herber’s condition required Level 3 care, and their institution only had a Level 2 rating, it would be illegal to keep them there (1). Dianne continued to argue, however, ultimately succeeding in allowing her parents to spend the holiday together, and currently attempting to have them both moved to the same Level 3 rated nursing home (1).

While many marriages end in divorce, there are still a few remarkable relationships that withstand the trials of time, conflict, and challenges. Stories like Audrey and Herbert’s are an inspiration to couples everywhere.

  1. https://www.apost.com/en/blog/authorities-force-elderly-couple-to-separate-after-69-years-of-marriage/10244/
  2. http://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/
  3. Image: https://www.apost.com/en/blog/authorities-force-elderly-couple-to-separate-after-69-years-of-marriage/10244/

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