Old Couple Who Lived Together for 62 Years Is Forced to Be Apart in Different Nursing Homes

Although a Canadian couple was determined to stick to the wedding vows they recited in the 1950s, they were forced to be apart after things took a heartbreaking turn.

Some people believe that love is dead and long-lasting marriages are nothing but fairy tales. Luckily, Wolf and Anita Gottschalk proved them wrong.

In August 2016, the couple’s undying desire to be with each other even after 62 years of marriage made headlines. Unfortunately, external forces kept them apart.

Wolf and Anita Gottschalk wiping tears away in August 2016 at Yale Road, British Columbia, Canada | Source: News


Wolf and Anita’s granddaughter, Ashley Bartyik, posted an emotional photo of their grandparents on Facebook as a desperate attempt to change their situation.

In the image, 83-year-old Wolf appeared sitting in a wheelchair in front of Anita, 81, as they both wiped away tears. The reason they were so sad? They had to live in separate nursing homes.

Anita lived in The Residence at Morgan Heights in South Surrey, British Columbia. In contrast, Wolf lived in Yale Road Centre, a transitional facility for older adults waiting to get into nursing homes.


Every second day, Bartyik or another family member would drive Anita from The Morgan to Yale Road to visit her husband. The 30-minute drive was necessary, especially because Wolf had dementia.

Although Wolf’s mental state worsened each day, he refused to let go of his memories with Anita and his deep feelings for her. However, Bartyik was afraid that living separately for so long would make Wolf forget Anita. Bartyik added:

“This has been a strain on our family, making the [30-minute] commute to bring her to see him, every second day, so he does not forget her.”

Wolf and Anita Gottschalk smiling at the camera before needing nursing homes | Source: News

If Wolf and Anita’s situation wasn’t already challenging, he was diagnosed with Lymphoma, also known as cancer of the lymphatic system (the body’s germ-fighting network).

Bartyik said time was running out.

Bartyik revealed her grandparents cried every time they saw each other, and it broke everyone’s hearts. The couple’s family wanted to have Wolf move into the same nursing home Anita was in, but it was a slow process.

Wolf and Anita Gottschalk celebrating their wedding anniversary | Source: News


As of August 2016, Anita and Wolf had already been separated for eight months because of “backlogs and delays” in Canada’s health care system, said Bartyik.

Fraser Health, the healthcare authority in charge of the couple’s case, pointed out that they couldn’t determine when The Morgan would admit Wolf. They announced in a statement:

“The husband’s care needs are considerably higher than his wife’s […]. This means we need to make sure the facility can accommodate both their needs.”

Portrait picture of Wolf and Anita Gottschalk | Source: News

Still, Bartyik said time was running out. She asked for people’s help so that her grandparents could spend their last moments under the same roof as they “deserved” it.

It is not the first time that nursing homes have made headlines, though. Florence “Flora” Stevens disappeared in upstate New York in 1975 following a doctor’s appointment. Authorities looked for her everywhere to no avail.

In October 2017, the New York Police department solved the decades-old case in an assisted living facility in Lowell, Massachusetts. You can read the entire story here.