Every body needs good neighbours…….
This blog is a bit different to my usual ones in that I’m writing about something happening in another country. My best friend who has supported me through thick and thin with AWOC lives in Lisbon. In her apartment block lives a lady of 85 called Ana. Ana has no family and her health problems means she cannot walk far or manage many things in her house. For many years she was helped by one of her neighbours who would get her shopping, help with bits of cleaning, take her out and keep her company. However, sadly a few months ago, she died leaving Ana not only dealing with her grief but without the help she needed to manage at home. Since then the other neighbours have done their best to help but they all work full time and many of them have their own families. They know Ana needs proper regular support but that she also lacks the means to pay for it. In desperation they have now set up a crowd funder Fundraiser by Maria Sanches : Help Ana have a happy old age! (gofundme.com)
In the UK we often talk about how, with social care under such pressure and a reduced workforce because of issues around Brexit and Covid19, that people should or could look more to their neighbours and community for help but we rarely discuss what does that mean in practice and are there limitations to that. Most people are more than happy to pick up shopping or prescriptions for neighbours that need help, indeed Covid19 saw an explosion in local support for neighbours. However, now that normality (or as close to it as we get at the moment) has reasserted itself, that support has fallen away as people have gone back to work, schools have opened and it is possible to go out and about again. What happens then to the Ana’s of this world? What happens to the people who have no family to look too and whose neighbours do what they can but cannot fill the gap left with the state isnt there. Ana is lucky, her neighbours know and care about her but not everyone is so fortunate. We have to do better for older people without family than just hoping they have nice neighbours.
To donate to Ana’s go fund me page, please follow this link Fundraiser by Maria Sanches : Help Ana have a happy old age! (gofundme.com)