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Number of Brazilian Elders in Public Homes Increases by 33% in 5 Years

07/02/2018 - 11h04

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SÃO PAULO

Maria was 79 years old when she suffered a stroke. When she fell sick, her daughter, Ana, was sure that she wouldn't work out of home for a while.

A few years earlier, Ana had already quit her job as a physiotherapy assistant to take care of her father. Now it was her mother, who was later diagnosed with Parkinson's disease as she was recovering from the stroke, who needed to be taken care of.

"I couldn't even leave the house to go to the supermarket. Who would I leave my mother with?," she says. Maria was also worried. "I was in a lot of pain," she says - she still has difficulty to speak due to the stroke.

Maria's family's story is the portrait of a dilemma found more and more often in Brazil - and which does not always find a solution within the family.

With more Brazilians living longer and families with fewer children, the debate on the offer of long-term care, housing and assistance to elders is also increasing.

The country, however, still does not have solid answers to the problem, specialist in ageing say.

"The government must acknowledge that Brazilian families have changed and it needs to start sharing the responsibility to take care of its elders," says Marília Berzins, the president of Observatório de Longevidade e Envelhecimento (Observatory of Human Longevity and Ageing).

Data of the Ministry of Social Development show that the issue is, in fact, pressing. Since 2012, the number of elderly people in homes that work in partnerships with state and local governments, mostly long-term institutions, has increased by 33%.

Eduardo Knapp/Folhapress
Brazil faces the rapid aging of its population over few decades
Brazil faces the rapid aging of its population over few decades

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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