Medicaid forces couple in their 80s to live apart after 63 years of marriage

A local, elderly couple is forced to live apart after 63 years of marriage.
A local, elderly couple is forced to live apart after 63 years of marriage.

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s a love story that started 63 years ago.

“Oh, he was handsome,” Wilma Clauss said. “He was the most handsome one there.”

It didn’t take long for Wilma to fall in love with Paul and find herself walking down the aisle.

However, the couple’s love story recently had an unexpected chapter.

“Well, we’ve just been together for a long time,” Wilma Clauss said. “I just really miss him.”

The couple, now in their late 80s, were living together in an assisted living facility in Lafayette.

However, Paul had some unexpected health issues and the couple was separated.

Medicaid has now placed Paul at a different assisted living facility on the other side of town. The family was told the other facility was the only place where there was an “available Medicaid” bed for him.

The couple’s daughters, Karen Hood and Cyndy Clauss, call the situation a nightmare.

“Having to move them to separate facilities has been the hardest thing for me that I have ever done,” Cyndy Clauss said.

Hood said, “It’s been extremely hard … for my dad. He has severe dementia.”

Cyndy Clauss added, “Together they could remember things better. Together they could do a better conversation. They were just stronger together.”

The couple only gets to see each other during scheduled, weekly visits between the two facilities.

The daughters said they don’t want to see their parent’s story end like this, and they simply want to see them continue writing their love story side by side.

“It’s not what they wanted,” Cyndy Clauss said. “It’s not what I worked for and it’s not what they worked for.”

Hood explained, “They’ve paid into the system. They’ve paid their Medicare and their Medicaid, and I want them to be able to spend their last days together.”

Wilma Clauss said, “I love him. I just miss having him around.”