Love in Retirement

On a flamingo-pink couch, they sit side by side, their aged hands entwined. They each wear wedding rings, not from each other, but from a partner they both survived. After a life, long lived, David Merrick, 93, and Helen Wands, 87, found love once again.
The couple met at Lely Palms Retirement Community in Naples. Shortly after moving into the assisted-living center, David wanted to learn how to play bridge. That is how he met Helen.
After one of many sessions playing bridge together, Helen approached David and asked if he would join her outside.
"She reached over, took my hand, looked up at me in the dark and said, 'David, I'm so happy I met you,' " David recalled.
Those words were enough for David.
"It was so genuine. I won't forget that night," David said.
Just over a year after that declaration, David and Helen happily call themselves companions. They love one another, but value their privacy and reside separately. David routinely stops by Helen's apartment so they can share a meal or play bridge together.
Before moving into Lely Palms, David and Helen felt isolated. After their spouses passed away, they each lived alone in homes with empty rooms and unused space. Initially, they resisted a transition to Lely Palms, but after a short while, they embraced their new environment.
"I suggest that anyone who is lonely go to a rest home like this," Helen said.
"And play bridge," David added.
The room exploded with laughter. David reached over to gently touch Helen's face. She responded with a smile.
"I feel like I'm 39 again, not 93," David said.