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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 10:53 GMT
Parted care couple to be reunited
Beryl and Richard Driscoll dancing
They just need to hold hands together, the couple's son said
A couple forced to live apart after 65 years of marriage when social services refused to put them in the same care home, are to be reunited.

Richard and Beryl Driscoll, both 89, were separated seven months ago.

He was eligible for a subsidised place in a care home in Cheltenham, but his wife was not, despite being blind.

But Gloucestershire County Council has reviewed the case after pressure from the couple's family and agreed to pay for them to live together.

Burma War veteran, Mr Driscoll, cannot walk unaided and relied on his wife to help him around their house.

It's the way our system is, this mindset, you become a bureaucratic machine that is processing many, many people and trying their best
Annie Stevenson, Help the Aged

But after he had an operation last June, Mrs Driscoll felt she could no longer look after him and he moved into a nursing home.

She wanted to join her husband but was told she did not qualify - even though she is registered disabled.

Their son Terry said: "All they need is their own company, to sit down together, to eat together, to converse in their own way together, they need to flipping well hold hands together."

Kim Carey, head of service for adult care, said: "Mrs Driscoll's needs and wishes have changed since social service initially assessed her.

"In line with hers and her family's wishes, we've carried out a reassessment which has identified that she is now eligible for support within a residential home."

'Rigid system'

Annie Stevenson, a senior policy adviser to Help the Aged, said the system was too rigid.

"It's the way our system is, this mindset, you become a bureaucratic machine that is processing many, many people and trying their best," she said.

"To be fair to the officials, I would imagine they had probably been in agony themselves about this.

"But the system is so rigid and so unforgiving and so lacking in imagination and creativity, to be able to find creative solutions for people like this and it isn't that uncommon."


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