Citizens urged to take look out for elderly members of the community

Lonely death of 71-year-old man a reminder of thousands of elderly living alone in the community, sometimes even forgotten by their relatives

Caritas has urged citizens not to ignore elderly members of the community, who may be living on their own and have no one to care or look out for them.

The heart-breaking discovery of the body of Ronnie Stafrace, 71, served as a reminder of the thousands of elderly who live on their own, with no relatives or forgotten by their relatives.

Stafrace had been dead for around eight weeks, before police broke down the door to his residence and found his body. A dog owner, the police realised that the starving dog had been feeding from his body to survive.

One of Stafrace’s neighbours, Grace Grech, told TVM that she had last seen the elderly man around eight weeks ago.
“He was a very good man, I have no complaints about him, and everybody used to help him out,” she said of the father of two. “When was the last time I saw him? Probably around two months ago…”

According to the latest census, there are 44,463 citizens aged over 70. A significant number of them live alone. Loneliness is a worldwide problem and Malta is not immune to it. A Christmas activity organised by Caritas – inviting people who live alone to join them for Christmas lunch – was a success, but at the same time revealed the amount of people living on their own.

“It’s time for the authorities and civil society to put their heads together to find solutions for this growing problem,” Caritas said.

The focus, Caritas said, should not be just on the elderly but on the problem of solitude and whoever suffers from it.

In Europe, 65 million elderly citizens suffer from solitude.

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