World

Elderly Couple Forced To Live Apart After 62 Years

| by Zara Zhi
Wolf Gottschalk and his wife AnitaWolf Gottschalk and his wife Anita

An elderly Canadian couple that spent the majority of their lives together have to separate because they can't get into the same retirement home.

Wolf Gottschalk, 83, and his wife Anita, 81, lived in the same apartment complex in Dusseldorf, Germany, since they were children and eventually fell in love.

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The couple married in 1954 and then immigrated to Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, for a better life. They went on to have three children, a son and two daughters.

The couple has been together for 62 years and since the start of 2016, have been living apart because there is no room at retirement homes nearby for a couple.

Wolf and Anita’s granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik, explained the unfortunate situation on Facebook, reports the Daily Mail.

“After 62 years together, they're inseparable. They do everything together,” she wrote. 

Wolf is on a waitlist to move into The Residence at Morgan Heights, the same nursing home as Anita. But the Fraser Health Authority says it is uncertain when he will be moved.

Every other day, family members drive Anita half an hour up the road to see Wolf. Bartyik has quit her job to help her mother take care of Anita.

“The stress of this has taken control of her and she has a pacemaker,” Bartyik said of her grandmother. “She has become almost completely immobile and uses a walker wherever she goes and a wheelchair depending on how far the walk is.”

When the time comes for the couple to part, they start to cry.  

“My grandma can't even kiss him goodnight now. He calls out her nickname, little mouse, for her when he sees her,” Bartyik told the Daily Mail.

Recently, Wolf was diagnosed with lymphoma and is also in the early stages of dementia.

“His dementia is growing ever stronger each day, but his memory of my grandmother has not faded an inch ... yet. We are afraid however that if they are living apart much longer, his memory of her won't stay,” Bartyik wrote.

But things are looking up. On Aug. 25, Fraser Health told the family they are now making the couple’s reunion a priority, reports CBC. The health authority did not give a timeframe of when it would happen.

“This isn’t just our issues, it affects so many people in Canada. Our health care system needs to have a spotlight on it,” said Bartyik.

Sources: Daily Mail, CBC / Ashley Bartyik/Facebook via CBC