85-year-old Jim Scharf has been through a lot. Among other things he was a cop for over 25 years.

But nothing could prepare him for being forced to live apart from his wife Joan, his companion for over 45 years. He says “it’s a void in your life.”

The couple was living in Kemptville, Ontario until Joan suffered a severe stroke in June of 2016. She required full-time nursing care, first in Ottawa then ultimately in Merrickville, about 20 kilometres from their home.

The separation hit Jim Scharf hard. “I would be waking up in the evening and looking for my wife or think she was calling me about something.”

“They are a long-term couple, one of these life-long couples that need to be together,” says his son, Dan Scharf. “The separation has really degraded Dad's life a lot but it's really affected the mental well-being of Mom.”

Scharf’s doctor said he was suffering from anxiety. He moved out of their house and into Bayfield Manor, and assisted living home in Kemptville.

Bayfield Manor also has long-term care beds, and can offer Joan the care she needs.

The problem is getting her there. Dan Scharf says her mother has been on the wait list for a while, but is no closer to getting a spot.

“The system just doesn't account for people needing different levels of care being reunited,” he says. “There's no process for that.”

It’s a story that’s played out at Bayfield Manor before. In the fall of 2016, CTV Ottawa covered the story of  Joan Burnett  who wanted to be reunited with her ailing husband, Ken. He passed away at a long-term care facility in Ottawa before that could happen.

“A man who died in heartbreak,” says Steve Clark, the MPP for Leeds-Grenville.

Clark called on the Ontario Health Ministry to change the rules then and he’s renewing that call now, sending a letter to Health Minister Eric Hoskins on the Scharf’s behalf.

“It’s happening all across the province,” says Clark. “And we need to have more people shine a light on this problem because the government needs to fix this.”

That fix can’t come soon enough for Jim Scharf, who desperately misses his wife.

“It’s hard. Very hard.”