TENS of thousands of old people in Valencia find themselves leading a lonely life.
“I will continue living alone while I can fend for myself. I am happy because I do not get into arguments with anyone and no one takes my remote control,” said Remedios, one of thousands of people aged over 85 that live by themselves in Valencia.
More and more old people find themselves in a similar situation, according to statistical data released by the local council.
Figures show that there are 153,981 people aged over 65 currently living in the city, 10 per cent more than in 2008 and that 40,757 of them were living alone by January 1. This represents a 3.6 per cent increase compared to 2013 and 10.9 per cent more than in 2008.
Some of the elderly people living by themselves in Valencia are visited by Red Cross volunteers on a regular basis through a free community visitors scheme. They accompany them to the doctor’s office and help them run errands.
Belen Monsoli is a 45-year-old volunteer who visits Remedios every single week. “Helping her and seeing how cheerful she is ever since I started visiting her is a rewarding experience,” she said. Remedios said she is delighted and would love it if Belen could drop by more often.
M.R is 85-years-old and has been living by herself for 26 years. She says she does not want to live with any of her four children. “The television keeps me company, but even so, I prefer living alone while I can still fend for myself,” she comments.
Despite her age, she keeps busy, which helps her keep fit both physically and mentally. “My children help me with the cleaning and the shopping, but I do my everyday chores myself,” she remarks.
As far as her pastime activities go, she likes watching TV and going for walks around the neighborhood. Sometimes she likes going to the day care centre for older people. “When I go there I talk to people and play cards, but I do not go there as often anymore,” she said.