It was the middle of the night, and 90-year-old Michael Devereaux couldn’t fall back asleep. He was heartsick, desperately missing his wife, and powerless to do anything about it.
“I pray and then I cry,” Devereaux said of his sleepless nights. “It’s terrible.”
Irish couple Michael and Kathleen Devereaux have been married for 63 years. Now in the winter season of life, the couple had one simple wish: to live out the remainder of their time together.
Americans are all too familiar with the broken long-term care system in the United States. Canada, too, has its fair share of nursing home injustice.
Now we turn to Ireland to learn about the “Fair Deal Scheme,” a government program designed to financially support citizens who need long-term nursing home care. Program participants contribute to the cost of care, and the Fair Deal picks up the rest of the bill.
Michael Devereaux was accepted into the program in early April, but his wife was denied after her assessment determined she was still capable of living independently. Separated for the first time in 63 years, the couple and their family were left devastated.
Kathleen “needs care night and day,” according to Tom Devereaux, and his family feels they don’t have the skills or training to keep up with their mother’s care. The best place for her — the healthiest, most comfortable place — is beside her husband at the nursing care facility.
“They’re in their twilight years,” Tom Devereaux said of his parents. “At the ages they’re at obviously they’re not going to live too long.”
After a long battle, things are finally looking up for the Devereaux family. Kathleen has now been accepted into the program and is set to be reunited with her husband.
“The HSE have confirmed that my mother can go and join her husband in the nursing home,” Tom Devereaux stated, who spoke with Simon Harris himself. “It will be as soon as possible.”
Understandably, the family is in better spirits after the announcement. “We just love each other,” Michael Devereaux expressed.