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Elderly couple forced apart just days before Christmas - after 70 years together

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Elderly couple forced apart just days before Christmas - after 70 years together

Herbert and Audrey say goodbye before later being pictured separated.
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Dianne Phillips/Facebook
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A daughter has hit out after her elderly parents were split up just a week before Christmas - for the first time in more than seven decades.

Herbert Goodine, 91, was told to leave the Canadian care facility where he lived with his wife Audrey, 89, and move into a nursing home.

Their daughter, Dianne Phillips, called the decision cruel and said authorities in New Brunswick should have waited until after the festive period.

She said: “My parents have been together for a total of 73 years and still sleep in the same bed.

"I feel people need to know what a flawed system we have in place. Two words describe it: unethical and cruel.

“When talking to my parents yesterday I listened to my mother weep and i could hear my father in the background.

“My mother said: ‘Christmas is over for us now and this is the worst Christmas that we will ever have.’

“My request during the day was to simply extend my father's residency until the end of this week. However, my repeated request was ignored. Because I was unwilling to make a decision on his new location within a few hours a representative from Social Development and a representative from the Victoria Villa approached my parents and forced them to make the decision on their own.”

Phillips’ Facebook post sparked outrage and had been shared more than 15,000 times at the time of writing.

But others say people who commented online have jumped to conclusions and that patient safety is more important.

The Toronto Star reported after a recent assessment of Herbert’s health, officials decided the home wasn’t appropriate for the 91-year-old, because his dementia had progressed to a point where he needed a higher level of care.

The newspaper said the couple would be reunited for Christmas Day at their daughter’s home.

Victoria Villa said in a statement: “Once a resident is beyond our level and social development has reassessed to determine their level, I have to follow the rules and regulations set by the government. In fact, it's against the law for me to not follow the rules and I could lose my license. At this point the decision has been made and it is out of my hands.

“We take extremely good care of all of our residents and do our very best to ensure they all have a safe, secure and happy home to live in.

“I would hope that anyone who is passing judgement on any situation in any home would get all facts before spewing nonsense.