Niagara Falls MPP Presses Ontario’s Premier To Keep Elderly Couple Together

“I know that no one in this house today, including the Health Minister, would ever want their parents to be separated in to different long-term care homes in different cities after a lifetime together.” – Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

News from the Office of Niagara Falls Riding MPP Wayne Gates

Posted November 2nd, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park, Toronto — NDP MPP for Niagara Falls, Wayne Gates, appealed to the Premier this November 2nd to address concerns with long-term care that have arisen around an elderly couple in Niagara.

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates in the Ontario legislature. File photo

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates in the Ontario legislature. File photo

“Yesterday (November 1st) I was back in Niagara to meet Helen. Helen has been put in a terrible position by this government. You see her parents have been married for 70 years and were never apart before they needed long-term care in August. Helen’s father Clarence is a resident at Shalom Manor in Grimsby.

But her mom Jessie is at a home in St. Catharines. Clarence and Jessie have been separated, in their final years, after spending a life time together. And under the completely inadequate Couple Reunification Program, chances are they will never live together again,” said Gates.  “What will the Premier do today to help Helen reunite her parents and make sure they don’t spend another day apart?”

Gates referred to a meeting he had yesterday with Helen Potsma. During the meeting Helen described her story. “My mom and dad have been married for almost seventy years, they were never apart until they needed to go into long-term care in August of this year,” said Postma. “They miss each other terribly.  We must have better options in Ontario for seniors like my parents.”

“I know that no one in this house today, including the Health Minister, would ever want their parents to be separated in to different long-term care homes in different cities after a lifetime together. It is wrong for couples to be separated after spending 70 years together just because they need long-term care. Jessie is 92 and Clarence is 93 years old. They miss each other terribly. They need to be together. They are worried about each other and should not be divorced by the long-term care system,” said Gates

“Will the Premier commit today to reunify Jessie and Clarence – and give them the dignity and respect of living together for their final years?”

MPP Gates has committed to continue to work with Clarence and Jessie’s family as well as the Ministry of Health to see that they are reunited without any further delay.

Immediately below is the full text of Wayne Gates Questions to Premier Kathleen Wynne in the Ontario Legislature this November 2nd and Wynne’s government’s responses –

Mr. Wayne Gates: My question is to the Premier.

Yesterday (Tuesday, November 1st), I was back in Niagara to meet with Helen. Helen has been put in a terrible position by this government. You see, her parents have been married for 70 years and were never apart before they needed long-term care in August. Helen’s father, Clarence, is a resident of Shalom Manor in Grimsby, but her mom, Jessie, is at a home in St. Catharines.

Clarence and Jessie have never been separated. In their final years, after spending a lifetime together, and under a completely inadequate couple reunification program, chances are they may never live together again.

My question is simple: What will the Premier do today to help Helen reunite her parents and make sure they don’t spend another day apart?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I know that the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care is going to want to speak to this. But I just want to say personally to the member opposite that this is an issue that is extremely important to me personally and, I think, to all of us in this House, because we all know couples, whether they’re our parents or whether they’re our grandparents or whether they’re our aunts and uncles—we know people who have been together for 50, 60 years, who need to be together in those years. It’s like they have become one unit.

We are doing everything we can to make sure that that is the standard, that is what happens in every situation. As I say, I know that the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care will want to speak to the specifics.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mr. Wayne Gates: I know that no one in this House today, including the health minister, would ever want their parents to be separated into two different long-term facilities in different cities after a lifetime together.

It is wrong for couples to be separated after spending 70 years together, just because they need long-term care. Jessie is 92 and Clarence is 93 years old. They miss each other terribly. They need to be together. They are worried about each other and should not be divorced by a long-term care system.

Will the Premier commit today to reunify Jessie and Clarence and give them the dignity and the respect of living together for their final years?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: This is an extremely important issue. We’re talking about people’s homes and we’re talking about two individuals who should reside…

Hon. Eric Hoskins: This is an extremely important issue. We’re talking about people’s homes and we’re talking about two individuals who should reside in the same home. They shouldn’t be separated. In fact, in our long-term-care system, the highest priority we have for finding a bed, for transferring to a different bed, is spousal reunification. There is no other priority that we attach a higher priority to.

In fact, we introduced regulations in our Long-Term Care Homes Act to enable residents in different homes to be reunified. It should never happen in the first place.

This is the first I’m hearing of this. I only wish that the member had actually approached me on this. I can’t speak to the specific issue, but rather than raise it in this forum, I believe it’s an issue that we could have resolved together, Mr. Speaker.

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One response to “Niagara Falls MPP Presses Ontario’s Premier To Keep Elderly Couple Together

  1. Sheila Krekorian

    Well said, Wayne Gates is a decent guy.

    Like

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