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Two Makes Company

an elderly couple smiling together at home“Sometimes I forget my apartment is across the hall”

Bob is 89 and Lorie is 93, and while they technically live in separate apartments, in reality, they are quite inseparable friends. Every morning Bob wakes up and strolls across the hall to Lorie’s apartment where he spends most of his day. He eats his meals, takes naps, and showers at Lorie’s. They watch TV together, read the newspaper together, and even when in silence, they spend it together.

This tradition first started 17 years ago, when Bob had a bad slip in the shower and broke his hip.

Having difficulty managing on his own for the weeks past the surgery, Bob accepted Loire’s offer to spend time in her apartment. There, she could assist him while she continued her work as an art critic from home. Lorie would cook for Bob, help him get dressed, and run his errands along with hers. In return, Bob assisted Lorie with her bookkeeping and kept her company while she worked.

This was quite an unexpected situation for both Lorie and Bob, who had both been widowed at an early age and had been used to living alone for a long time. Neither had children nor family in town, and neither seemed to mind.

When we asked Lorie about the nature of their relationship before Bob’s fall, she replied, “we had always been friendly neighbours and assisted each other with a favour or two when we could. But after Bob’s fall, we just got used to being together, and it was nice.”

“It was comforting to have someone around after so many years.” Says Bob. “Sometimes you don’t realize how lonely you are until you get used to something different.”

So when Bob recovered from the surgery, and for years to come, he continued to spend most of his days at Lorie’s.

Almost two decades later, Lorie’s and Bob’s pace and lifestyle has changed enormously: Lorie stopped working and has difficulty walking, and Bob’s memory often slips up; Lorie and Bob each have a caregiver from Alvita who helps them with personal care. But what hasn’t changed, is the unique nature of Bob and Lorie’s friendship.

“Before knocking on Bob’s door, I always check Lorie’s first,” says Alana, Bob’s caregiver for the past 3 years.

“I used to not get it” says Jasmine, who helps take care of Lorie. “They’re not just regular neighbours, but it’s definitely not romantic…I guess it’s what friendship is truly about.”