An elderly couple in their 90s who have rarely been apart over seven decades have been separated in a "heartbreaking nightmare" - due to the housing shortage in Cornwall.

Sheila Glass, 96, and her husband of 74 years, William Glass, 94, have been forced to part because of a shortage of housing and care options means Sheila is unable to leave hospital - despite her being medically fit to go home.

Sheila broke her neck during a fall at her home and was sent to Liskeard Hospital, in Cornwall.

But even though she was declared medically fit to leave 60 days ago, Sheila cannot leave hospital, as the home the pair shared in Millbrook was declared unsafe by occupational therapists.

William has had to move to his daughter's home in Torpoint and the couple have been placed on the Cornwall housing register.

William and Sheila have rarely been apart until now, except for when William had time away serving in the Royal Navy.

Falmouth Packet: Sheila and William on their wedding daySheila and William on their wedding day (Image: Mike Adams/SWNS)

Sheila was her husband's sole carer before her fall.

Health bosses have said they were working with the family to find a solution, while the council said it prioritised "those most in need" - but could "only provide housing when it becomes available".

The couple's son-in-law Mike Adams described the situation as "traumatic" and "an absolute nightmare".

He said: "It is a tragic story and symptomatic of the state of the country at the moment!

"They don't know how long they have left, but all they want simply is to be together. Everyday is a day they are not together, it's so upsetting.

"Sheila is 96. I keep trying to put that in context - she is the same age as the Queen when she died. See how frail the Queen was?

"Given her age she’s amazing - in the hospital they likened her to a Duracell bunny!

"She wants to get home and do some sewing and cook her husband a meal again. Every day she's bed blocking her mental wellbeing is suffering - it is heart-breaking and horrible to see."

Falmouth Packet: Sheila has been in hospital after being injured in a fall at homeSheila has been in hospital after being injured in a fall at home (Image: Mike Adams/SWNS)

Devastated William told the BBC: "She misses me, we want to be together. At our age we don't know how much longer we have got.

"We'd like the last few years or whatever to be together in our own place, where we are not wholly dependent on our family.

"The hospital want her out and we want her home, but there's no home for us. We're stuck and we don't know what to do next."

Mike says his parents-in-law have worked hard "throughout their whole lives" and have never asked for "anything in return" - but they have to rely on higher powers to reunite the couple.

He explained: "They've just kept themselves to themselves but now they need help.

"Because they are old, people don't wanna know - it's so upsetting. For the powers to be it's another name on a piece of paper.

"We are hoping upon hope that they can can see them as human beings - which will finally trigger something into happening."

Falmouth Packet: William said they just want to be togetherWilliam said they just want to be together (Image: Mike Adams/SWNS)

A spokesperson from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which operates Liskeard Hospital, told the BBC: “We do not want any of our patients to be in hospital any longer than they need to be, especially those like Sheila who are independent and have no ongoing care and support needs.

“When planning a patient’s discharge, our teams will assess the home environment to ensure it is safe for them to return to.

"This can be more complicated when a person lives in a property they own themselves, especially if that property has fallen into disrepair or is deemed to be unsafe.

“We are continuing to work with Sheila’s family and our partners to find a solution and ensure she is able to leave hospital as soon as possible”.

Around 2,300 social housing properties become available each year across Cornwall on average.

Cornwall Council said there were "unprecedented pressures" on housing, with 27,000 households on its social housing register.

It added they are "working with government to introduce double council tax on second homes and limiting the number of holiday lets through the planning process".