Alma and Terry Bonnett have been married for nearly seven decades – but for the last few years, they’ve been forced to live in different seniors’ homes.
In Sept. 2016, their family reached out to Global News asking for help. Alma and Terry were told they couldn’t live together because they required different standards of care.
They weren’t too far apart, only a few blocks separated them in Camrose, Alta. – but it was far enough that Terry had to drive or ride his scooter.
He often couldn’t make the trip when the weather turned nasty.
WATCH BELOW: They’ve been married for 66 years and are supposed to be enjoying the later part of their lives together. But instead, red tape in the healthcare system separated these Alberta seniors. Sarah Kraus explains.
“It’s hard on a person. You’ve been together that many years and then you get ready for bed and you get lonesome. There’s nobody to talk to in the evening,” Terry said.
It’s story that’s happened to many seniors. And the Bonnetts’ story tugged on heartstrings across Canada.
“I got emails, I got phone calls. I got people offering places that would take couples – but unfortunately my parents have been here most of their lives so they didn’t want to leave their community. But it was great so many people were concerned,” explained their daughter, Deloris Bonnett.
“I figure we should be together all the time.”
The couple’s wish to live in the same place was granted just before Christmas.
“I figure we should be together all the time,” Alma said.
Two weeks ago, Terry moved into another wing of Bethany Meadows – the same complex where Alma lives.
They live in different sections of the facility but there’s only a five-minute walk between their rooms – and it’s all indoors.
“After dinner we usually visit one place or the other. Either Alma comes up here and I go down there. That passes away three to four hours of the afternoon,” Terry explained. “It’s better because I can go out, travel and see my wife. If it’s blowing or snowing out there – doesn’t matter what it is. I can still go.”
“It also makes it easier for us as family members,” Deloris explained. “We come to see them, we can see them both here.”
The Bonnetts believe their dilemma just needed a little extra attention.
“It’s going on four years that I started writing letters and it actually was Global News that brought it to the forefront – and I thank you very much for that,” Deloris said.
The family is hopeful that Terry and Alma might live even closer soon.
“It’d be better if we were together – or even if the rooms were closer together,” Terry said. It’s something management at Bethany Meadows tells them they’re working on – and they appreciate it.
“They said they could be in the same room, but we found it a little bit crowded. Dad will eventually move down to Aspen, where mom is, so they could be next door to each other, which would be great.”
“It’d be better if we were together – or even if the rooms were closer together.”
The Bonnetts are happy that their story helped to shine a light on the problem of seniors being forced apart in care.
“Something really needs to be done about seniors being separated. In some cases, in different communities even,” Deloris said. “It’s not right, it needs to be changed.”
But for now, they’re just grateful to be reunited once again.
“I guess it’s lucky we’re together. At least we’re under the same roof and still living.”