Elderly B.C. Couple That Was Forced To Live Apart Reunited

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Ashley Bartyik/Facebook
Ashley Bartyik/Facebook

VANCOUVER — An elderly couple forced to live in two separate residential care homes in British Columbia have been reunited.

Their granddaughter Ashley Bartyik posted an announcement on Facebook saying the couple are now staying at Morgan Heights facility in Surrey.

"The reunion saw tears of joy for all involved,'' she says in the statement.

Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk gained global attention in August when Bartyik shared a heartbreaking photo of the couple weeping when they were briefly reunited during a visit with each other.

At the time, Bartyik said her grandparents had never spent more than a few days apart during their decades of marriage until Wolfram was forced to live alone as a result of his changing health care needs.

bc senior couple
Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk were forced to live in separate care homes for the past eight months. (Photo: Ashley Bartyik/Facebook)

Wolfram, 83, suffers from dementia and after experiencing congestive heart failure in January, he was moved to the Yale Road Centre residential care facility.

Anita, 81, immediately got on a wait list to get moved into a residential care home so they could be together, but she ended up placed at an assisted-living unit at Morgan Heights, which was a 30-minute drive from the Yale Road Centre.

A spokeswoman for the Fraser Health said the lack of vacancies and the couple's considerably different health care needs were behind their separation but the health authority was committed to reuniting the couple.

Shortly after the first photo was shared, the family learned Wolfram was diagnosed with lymphoma and Bartyik said she feared he would die before being reunited with her grandmother.

But Bartyik says the couple will now spend their final years together as Wolfram was moved to the same care home as Anita on Thursday.

She says the family will continue to advocate for other couples experiencing similar challenges of separation.

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