Sad seniors case difficult, but Fraser Health promises to reunite families
'It certainly speaks to the need for us to be more creative'
B.C.'s Fraser Health Authority is committed to reuniting families after the image of an elderly husband and wife — Wolf and Anita Gottschalk — who are forced to live apart caused outcry.
Ashley Bartyik's 83-year-old grandfather and his wife of 62 years live in different care homes in Surrey B.C.
Every time they see each other, they cry — a moment Bartyik captured in a photo this week.
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She posted the picture online, where it has been shared thousands of times and made headlines around the world, and she hopes it will draw attention to the shortage of publicly funded beds for seniors in B.C.
Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma said the health authority wants to reunite families, but the couple's is challenging because the husband's care needs are considerably higher than his wife's.
So far no solution has been offered for the pair in the photo that caught people's attention.
Senior care lacks creativity
Earlier this week B.C.'s advocate for seniors called on the provincial government to allow greater flexibility for seniors to choose how they want to live their final years.
Isobel MacKenzie was responding the image of Wolf Gottschalk and his wife Anita in tears during a visit at a transition house.
The couple have been living apart for eight months because Wolf is required to receive a higher level of care because of his dementia diagnosis, while Anita is living in assisted living at The Residence at Morgan Heights.
"I think it certainly speaks to the need for us to be more creative around how we are going to allow couples to live together that have different care needs," said Mackenzie on CBC Radio's B.C. Almanac.
With files from Canadian Press, Richard Zussman