Health Authority Comes Between 60 year Marriage

You would think the healthiest medicine is to be with the one you love. However, two seniors found out that after over 60 years of marriage the thing that would come between them was Interior Health. IH is a health authority that was set up to serve communities in the interior of British Columbia. It provides many services which includes Seniors Care and boasts on its website “we’re working hard to provide a range of health care options that promote independence, choice and dignity.”

For Ken McKay and his wife Dusty that appears to be difficult to obtain. Instead, they found themselves separated when six months ago Dusty’s medical care needs exceeded his. The emotional toll this has taken on both of them was hard; tears welled up as I watched on Global BC news Elderly Okanagan Couple Appeal for Same Home. To hear what they were having to deal with was truly heartbreaking. Here is a man and woman who have survived through all the ups and downs that life brings, afforded so much time on this earth to spend together in love and marriage only to be ripped apart by a system whose roots are in health and care.

How is it healthy to remove from a person’s life their companion and confidante? How good can any care be when it places such pain, frustration, heartache and loneliness in two people’s lives? Where is the dignity when as we age other people make decisions for us that they would never wish upon themselves? At what point does our choice to live and die in the arms of the one we love become a logistical problem that must be handled by outside entities?

All too often seniors find themselves being dictated to and cast aside. We are a culture that houses our seniors more often in wait to die centers rather than creating strong at home care and independent living an affordable reality. It should not be so hard for this man and woman to receive the support necessary under one roof. We should embrace that option as a true sign of compassionate care till the end! To see this man break down in the way he did, apologize for his emotion and still try to fight to be united with his wife, is so admirable.

Sixty years of unity should not end as it has for others in the past because our health care authorities didn’t have the vision to provide a workable solution. Shame on the Interior Health and may everyone reading this realize we may one day find ourselves in a similar situation…who will speak for us? When we can’t take care of the people who need us most, it is not they that are weak, it is us.


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