NUNS THAT ONCE TAUGHT THE YOUNG ARE NOW CARING FOR THE ELDERLY IN DYING ITALY
Italian life expectancy is 78.3 years for men and 84 for women. But more significantly, Italy holds the world record for the highest percentage of what experts call the "old old." One out of every five elderly Italians is over 80.
Where did it all go wrong?
Italy, home to the Vatican and predominantly Catholic, legalized abortion in 1978, and Italians upheld the law in a 1981 referendum, despite fierce opposition by the Vatican to abortion. And Italians have long tended to ignore Vatican teaching forbidding contraception.
And the fruit of the "culture of death" is the death of a culture...
While decisions to have one or no children might make for easier lifestyles when young, a generation or two later the choice means fewer children and grandchildren to help the aged.
In 1950, Italy had five adult children for every elderly parent. Now five has shrunk to a statistical 1.5 and by 2050 there won't even be one adult child for every elderly person, said Antonio Golini, a demographer at Rome's La Sapienza University.
With no one to care for the elderly-- Italians have started to rely on foreigners and Catholic nuns.
So dependent have Italians become on the foreign caregivers that when the government offered an amnesty a few years ago for illegal immigrants, it placed no limits on the number of foreigners a family could employ if the workers cared for elderly.
[S]ome elderly, fearful of admitting foreigners to their homes, turn to another old fixture of Italy — nuns of the Roman Catholic Church.
Since nuns labor for God instead of a paycheck, room and board at homes for oldsters run by religious orders cost much less than at traditional nursing homes.
Caring for the elderly as a business also makes economic sense for the nuns.
When there were no longer enough children to fill the classrooms, the Disciples of Sisters of Eucharistic Jesus converted a nursery and elementary school in Rome's middle-class Garbatella neighborhood into a rest home.
"Our mothers stayed at home caring for their mothers and their mothers-in-law," said Sister Maria Cecilia at the home. "Now women work and don't even have time to care for their own children."
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