Aging population needs new care options

Christos likes to introduce himself as a «retiree in training.» «When I was young, I fell in love with one of my co-workers,» he said. «But I got so hurt that I never had another relationship. I remained alone, forever.» Now, he says, at least he lives in a nice rest home in Neo Faliron, south of the city center. Amalia, who is 81, has lived in the same rest home as Christos for the last three years. «I don’t have children,» she said. «When I lost my husband, my nieces and nephews brought me here so someone could take care of me. I didn’t know what to expect, but luckily I’m being treated well.» Meanwhile, Evangelos, who is 75, lives independently in his own house. «I don’t have any complaints,» he said. «My kids look out for me and they have hired a nice girl to take care of me when they are gone. We old people are just burdens, anyway.» The above comments tell a troubling story about the changing face of the Greek family, which is struggling – both financially and timewise – to take care of its aging members. Though data show that Greek families do not like putting elderly relatives into rest homes, families often no longer have the time or resources to take care of them at home. Many are choosing rest homes or else hiring low-paid foreigners as live-in domestic care.