A heartwarming photo of a 96-year-old man feeding his wife during a date has gained attention online, inspiring social media users to share their own stories of lasting love.
Love What Matters, a website focusing on stories about love, posted the image to its Facebook page along with an anecdote about the couple in the photo, Daily Mail reports.
"As I was sitting eating my double cheeseburger at Wendy's, I glanced over at this older couple, and thought 'That's sweet,'" read the post. The post described the man feeding his wife before the poster asked how long the couple had been together.
"He looked at me and asked me to guess his age but not to guess too low," the post continued. "After a few guesses he told me he was 96 and his wife is 93 who is suffering from Alzheimer's. This is their date night. He also told me that if they make it till June, they will be celebrating 75 years of marriage!"
Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disorder that often affects the elderly and can cause memory loss and inhibit thinking skills. An estimated 5 million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer's, according to the National Institute on Aging. The disease, which can become so severe that it prevents sufferers from performing everyday tasks, is the sixth-leading cause of death in America.
Commenters found the photo and the story touching, and shared stories of their own experiences with loved ones who had Alzheimer's.
"My grandpa would feed my grandma long after she had forgotten who he was; however, she wouldn't eat for anyone else," said one commenter. "Somewhere in her heart's memory she knew who he was."
"Beautiful story, my eyes are teary," said another. "Reminds me of my mother who I took care of for three years before she passed from Alzheimer's and heart failure two years ago."
"Even after my parents divorced after being married for 30 years, my father still came over to help me with my mother," the commenter continued. "He loved her since he was 19 and never stopped."
The post gained nearly 140,000 likes and over 28,000 shares on Facebook, with thousands commenting to share their thoughts and experiences with love and Alzheimer's.
Other users shared pictures of loved ones who suffered from the disease.
"This is my parents they been married for 66 years and my mom has Alzheimer's and doesn't know my father," said one commenter who shared an image of her elderly parents, "but he comes to see her every day and she smiles when she sees him I love them so much and love to see their unconditional love."
"This is what true love is about," said another user. "Marriage is for better or worse."