Mid Wales

'It felt as if I was abandoning her to someone else'

David Jenkins
Image caption David Jenkins' wife is living in care in Welshpool while he's in Aberystwyth

A husband has said he felt as if he was "abandoning" his wife of more than 50 years when she moved into a specialist care home 55 miles away from him.

Sonia Jenkins has Alzheimer's disease and was recently admitted to The Rhallt Care Home in Welshpool, Powys.

David Jenkins, 75, who lives in Aberystwyth, said it would be the first Christmas they had spent apart.

They are among families who want more specialised dementia care facilities in Ceredigion to prevent separations.

Some loved ones have been moved up to 60 miles away to Elderly Mentally Infirm (EMI) care homes, which cater for those with more advanced symptoms of dementia.

Ceredigion council said the seven EMI beds in the county were occupied and Bridell, in Pembrokeshire, was the closest alternative with 37.

Mr Jenkins said: "I was in a state of denial because I didn't want her to leave Aberystwyth," he said.

"It felt as if I was abandoning her to someone else. You're no longer a pair, it feels as though half of your life has been ripped away from you."

Mr Jenkins said his wife was offered a nursing home place in towns such as Llandudno, Wrexham, Caernarfon and Carmarthen.

He said he saw her once a week because he found it a physical challenge completing the three-hour round trip.

Eileen Jones, also from Aberystwyth, was not able to be with her 79-year-old husband, Sinnett, when he died at a home in Welshpool.

"It was late in the night they phoned to say he was deteriorating.

"There was nothing I could do. In myself I wanted to be there. It was a terrible, stressful time," she said.

Local authorities in Wales cannot directly supply EMI care so they rely on private providers.

A Ceredigion council spokesman said: "The local authority is aware of the need for some additional capacity for EMI nursing provision and will continue to explore options for future provision in partnership with service providers and Hywel Dda University Health Board."

More on this story