A woman at a fruit market in Madrid (Reuters).
The economic crisis is affecting family dynamics in Spain, where financial help between generations has become the only way for many families to remain afloat. The burden on the elderly is enormous, according to a report by the Red Cross in Catalonia.
One in three of Spain’s senior citizens has had to help younger family members economically during the last two years with money taken from the retirement benefits, while one in four has had to house one or more children who have moved back to the parental home, the report showed.
The elderly have become “an indispensible pillar to alleviate the consequences of the crisis,” said Josep Marquès, the president of the Red Cross in Catalonia, a region in northeast Spain, during a press conference, according to Europa Press.
After analyzing how the crisis has affected 674 persons aged over 65 years, the humanitarian agency has found that for 70 percent their savings capacity had been reduced because of increased prices or higher family expenditures.
Also, 70 percent of them believe that “this crisis is more serious than former ones” because of the deteriorations of the welfare state.
Money flows between generations reverted
“Now those over 65 are supporting the youngest generations financially,” according to Marquès, when it used to be the other way around, a clear result of the high youth unemployment in Spain affecting about 50 percent of those under 25.
Also, as a consequence of the crisis many elderly can spend less on food and 20 percent said they cannot afford to eat fruit, meat and fish regularly. About half of them said they have cannot afford to visit a dentist or optician.
Margués said about half of the elderly cannot afford maintaining an adequate temperature in their house and 80 percent cannot allow themselves any expenses related to leisure or sparetime activities.
This article was translated and edited by Stina Lunden.
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