Abandoned Elderly – Romania and Bulgaria
Thirty years ago, communism ended. After years of living in a state of control, many people, young and old, especially the educated who were greatly persecuted, fled their countries to start a new life of freedom in other parts of the world. New governments took over, but life has remained difficult for many abandoned elderly in Romania and Bulgaria.
Many older people are living in isolated communities on old collective farms. They receive very low pensions that hardly cover their daily food. The situation is a dangerous one. Every winter many widows and widowers freeze to death due to the of lack of firewood. They are living in old dilapidated houses and apartments in rural villages, far from family and friends. Witnessing them prepare for the upcoming winter by themselves was troublesome. Days were spent foraging in the forest for wild mushrooms and berries, collecting firewood and corn for their few animals.
Families visited rarely. Neighbors helped when they could. It saddens me that these people are spending their last years enduring such poverty, living alone and isolated! Few of us are prepared for the complexities of managing the last years of our lives. As we live longer, we all will be facing challenges. But these challenges were extreme for the abandoned elderly in Romania and Bulgaria.