By Telnis Skuqi
Saranda – Elefteri Foto, the 71 year old pensioner from Saranda suffers from cancer since several months ago and for many decades from epilepsy, does not fear the death, but the way how she will leave this world. The elderly woman lives alone in the quarter No.1, near the fifth street of the coastal town, in the southern part of the country. She could not have her own family due to her early disease, and nowadays she is forced to live alone with her retirement payment. “I have spent money and time to get cured, but I understand that my life is coming to the end”, says sincerely Elefteria.
According to her, someone is born a baby and dies as such, nevertheless this does not stop Elefteria to fight and ask for her rights i.e. to die with dignity. “Every door of the state has been slammed on my face. No one helps me to die as a human being”, expresses Elefteria. To her, life has become very difficult in the old age, especially when the breast cancer appeared to her. Elefteria says that she suffers from epilepsy since her childhood. Her parents have always taken care of her up to the moment they passed away in a natural way. “My brother, a former well known architect in Saranda, being a pensioner nowadays, has been my protective angel during the rest of my life”, says Elefteria that is actually living in a 50m2 dwelling, in the first floor of a flat.
Elefteria says that she is trying to buy the expensive medicines with the retirement payment adding that she travels alone to Tirana hospital once in a month to take the chemotherapy. “I do not want to confess my suffering in the hospital of the capital city; this is another story. They get everything from you”, underlines Elefteria. Despite the difficulties of her age, the pensioner asks for a caretaker, not for cleaning the house or her yard, because as she says “she can do them by herself”, but for her last hours in this life. “Dear fellow! Please do me a favour with the state offices. You do not know where to knock”, Elefteria begs me. “The local government officials listen to my worries every day, but they are powerless to treat these cases”, she adds.
Saranda municipality assesses as problematic the caretaking process for the old ages in the coastal town “With the political changes have also changed the social policies towards the old ages”, expresses the official source in Saranda municipality. The same source underlines that the financial shortage makes it impossible the existence of a residential social center for the old people in the coastal town. “There is a polyvalent centre that exists for several years, but it is not a residential centre. There are treated at least 50 old people, nevertheless they are obliged to leave from this centre in the evening”, says the municipality of Saranda.
Erion Veliaj, the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, stresses that the government will support all the municipalities in the country towards a better budgeting, to have additional staff for the social services and continuous funds to maintain most of these services which are transferred to the local units. “This is the minimum that can be done for all those old people who do not have any family support, and who see the state like their own shelter during their old age”, expresses Veliaj. On the other side, Veliaj underlines that one of the problems of the old people that live in the residential centers is the lack of their retirement payment and their impossibility to have enough years of work to be included in the scheme. “The new law that enters into force on January 1, 2015 ensures a social pension, something that means that the old people above the 70s, who have not received any lek with the new law due to an anomaly to the system, will benefit the social pension”, he underlines.
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