Devoted couple reunited – for Christmas Day only - in Milton Keynes care home

Raffaello and Isabel Gerra PNL-141229-115747001
Raffaello and Isabel Gerra PNL-141229-115747001

Last week the Citizen told of the plight of Raffaello Gerra who was separated from his wife Isabel 12 weeks ago.

Mr Gerra, 84, had suffered a stroke which left him bedbound and was told he couldn’t join his wife at Ashby House in Eaglestone because the care home was not suitable to ‘meet his needs’.

Daughter Stephanie Gerra was so upset at her parents’ predicament she launched a petition to reunite the couple.

It has already gathered over 1,000 signatures and got the backing of Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart.

In the meantime the Citizen’s story prompted Milton Keynes Council to organise a reunion for Christmas, paying for a taxi to take Mr Gerra from the hospital to Ashby House so that he could spendChristmas Day with Isabel, his wife of 50 years.

But though grateful, Stephanie does not think it is enough, and says all she wants is for her parents to be living in the same care home as soon as possible.

“Giving Mum and Dad a taste of how things could and should be and then removing that seems rather cruel, even if it wasn’t intended as such.

“I suppose, what we can’t understand is that if the council were willing and able to facilitate the reunion for the day, why couldn’t they have facilitated it for life?”

Speaking after her parents reunion Stephanie added: “It was bittersweet because they both can’t understand why it is not like that all the time.

“After a lovely lunch, we all went to watch TV in mum’s room and the pair of them were lying together all cuddled up on a single bed.

“My dad just didn’t want to leave. It was very emotional.”

Since then, Stephanie says her mother has been distressed at being separated she hasn’t been eating and is constantly calling out for her husband.

Stephanie added: “It was nice for the council to facilitate mum and dad’s reunion for Christmas Day by paying for the taxi from the hospital to the care home, but there has been fall-out.

“We haven’t told dad as it would break his heart.”

A spokesman said the council was very sympathetic to the circumstances of the Gerra family, but said Raffaello must spend at least six weeks in care housing for assessment.

But eve n then there is no guarantee he will be allowed the £650-a-week funding.

Councillor Nigel Long, cabinet member health and wellbeing, said: “Simply placing someone in a care or nursing home especially one specialising in advanced dementia support may not be their best pathway to care and support.

“It may remove a care management option for another person who needs that tailored service.

“Milton Keynes Council has good assessment, reablement and support services for older people leaving hospital after a stroke or a fall.”