A Kemptville couple who have been married more than 60 years are devastated about living in different care homes. Their family believes the unwanted separation is causing both physical and mental problems on their already fragile health.

Joan Burnett is living in a retirement facility at Bayfield Manor in Kemptville, while her husband Ken is staying in a long terms care (LTC) unit at Medex in west Ottawa.

There is a LTC facility in Kemptville where Joan is staying, but there are seven people ahead of Ken on the wait list.

Joan held back tears as she described the loneliness from missing her husband of 63 years.

“I just wish it could be but apparently it can’t be… it doesn’t work that way,” she said.

The couple’s son said the plan was to put Joan and Ken together in a care centre in their hometown of Kemptville, but when Ken’s health started to decline in April, Medex was the first facility to have available space. Shortly after Joan decided she needed to be placed into a retirement facility she was able to get a room at Bayfield Manor. The goal was to move Ken to Bayfield when a space opened up.

“We were made to believe it would be six months and we thought, we can bridge that gap, but his health has just spiralled,” said Jasmine Burnett, the couple’s daughter-in-law.  

The couple’s son said Ken is crying out for his wife in the middle of the night and is now on medication to help with insomnia.

The family is hoping Ontario’s Community Care Access Centre could make an exception by putting Ken higher on the wait list at Bayfield to be with Joan.  

 “We were told he’s not in a crisis because his care is being handled, and we said ok his physical, but clearly his mental health has taken a fall,” said Jack Burnett, the couple’s son.

It is upsetting news for the couple who counted on spending a lifetime together.