(CNN) — A photo posted online showing an elderly couple holding hands and crying has been shared thousands of times on Facebook.
The heart-breaking photo shows Wolf and Anita Gottschalk of Surrey, B.C, who have been married for 62 years, saying goodbye before heading back to their separate nursing homes. For the last eight months, have been forced to live apart.
Since the photo made its rounds on social media, “numerous offers” have been presented to healthcare authority Fraser Health to help reunite the couple. For now, Wolf Gottschalk has been moved to a facility just down the road from his wife, which is making care and communication for the family a lot easier.
“We took a huge step in the right direction and thank Fraser Health for the communication and making this option available,” Bartyik said. “We are that much closer to having them under one roof! Progress!”
When they were living further apart, every other day, a family member, usually their granddaughter Ashley Bartyik, would drive the 40-minute distance so they could see each other. Every time it was time to say goodbye, they would be in tears.
“It’s an emotional outburst from both of them,” Bartyik told CNN.
Bartyik, 29, cares for the Gottschalks full time. She posted a picture of the distressing routine on Facebook hoping to attract the attention of her local community. The post has been shared thousands of times and has gained international attention.
“We want justice for my grandparents who after 62 years together deserve to spend their last moments in the same building,” her post reads.
In January, Wolf Gottschalk was placed into Yale Road Centre after suffering from congestive heart failure. His wife, Anita, 81, lived in a home 40 minutes away.
Wolf Gottschalk, 83, suffers from dementia and was also diagnosed with lymphoma this week. Though the memory of his wife has not faded, Ashley is afraid it eventually will.
“The time is ticking now more than ever before,” she told CNN.
“This is a heartbreaking situation for the family, and it’s quite upsetting for us as well,” a spokeswoman for Fraser said, “We are committed to reuniting the couple and we hope to do so within the next few weeks.”