Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elderly in Moldova

The elderly in Moldova is a very interesting topic.  Although the elderly are respected (younger people should always greet the elderly with respect even when just walking past each other on the street) they are also often forgotten.  I have found that the majority of elderly citizens in my village speak poor Romanian (the most widely used language in my village) and use Russian on a daily basis.  This is probably mostly because of the hard effect of soviet times on these individuals.  Their lives have been hard and many long for the days of communist control when bread was received after waiting with crowds of other people in line for provisions and bus rides were free for university students.  These are the people that remind me how much it "costs" to become a democracy.  They remind me what my relatives and ancestors fought to achieve.  These are the pensioners (British term for retirees) who have to literally pinch pennies just to survive. 

I was at the town market with my host mother one morning and we bumped into her history teacher from high school.  After exchanging our greetings and thoughts on the beautiful weather our conversation (or rather their conversation) moved on to the pains of life.  As the old baba (derogatory word for grandmother in Russian) walked away she said something to the effect of "I hope to die soon so I won't have to experience another winter." 

Needless to say life for the elderly is tough and there is some support but it is limited as it is for any marginalized population.  For those that have family working abroad or have the privilege to live with their families they are well taken care of.  Those that are left here without anyone have to depend on social assistance and neighbors which can sometimes be lacking.  In such a destitute situation it is no wonder that the elderly population in Moldova has poor health, hygiene and tends to drink copious amounts of alcohol (whatever they can get their hands on really).  It's sad.  The government and the local communities need to take responsibility for their elderly. 

Some resources I have found:

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