Couple May be Separated in Nursing Home After Surviving Holocaust Together

They survived the Holocaust, but now the couple, married for 65 years, faces the prospect of being separated by the nursing home where they reside side by side. The nursing home says it is legally entitled to do what it feels is best, based on each resident's needs. In this case it feels the female resident requires a higher level of care.

Both husband and wife are 90 years old, but they have different stages of the illness that impairs memory, thought, speech and can lead to complete helplessness. The local Jewish Eldercare Centre says the woman must be moved to a different ward as soon as possible in order to receive a higher level of care. The couples son however says,  "They cannot survive without one another." "They always hold hands," he said. "They kiss each other. They're this incredible, great couple in theirs 90's."

The nursing home is hoping to move the woman to a new unit where her husband will join her as soon as a bed opens up, but the couples sons worry that it will take too long to reunite them.One advocate group for elders suggested that the nursing home should do all it can to keep the couple together. Alzheimer's residents generally do not do well with change, they suggested. They also recommended that nursing homes mix heavy cases with light ones because a varied environment is better for everyone, she said. But this requires more staff and more funding, which public nursing homes often don't have.

Recalling his parents' years as teenage sweethearts in Romania, their time in concentration camps starting at age 19 and their fateful liberation, their son said his parents were reunited after World War II by the strength of their enduring love. His father wrote to his mother when he heard that she was at a prisoner exchange in Sweden. He proposed in a letter he sent to her following the war. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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