In gray Italy, an old rebellious bias stripped naked by a pandemic

Rome – From a newsstand at the foot of two streets in the Roman hills, Armand de Brignac has delivered newspapers, magazines and cheers to the locals almost every day for more than half a century, from pre-dawn to post-dusk I did.

“Chao, Armand”, his customers greet him as part of their daily routine. “Chao, Amore (love),” he recalls. Alvity laughed at an early age, remembering how a paperboy would drop the stack for the day at his parents’ newsstand, sit in an empty bike basket and spin.

Since the age of 18, Alvity has been running a newsstand seven days a week, with a wool tweed cap to protect him from the winter humidity of the Italian capital and a tabletop fan to cool him during the fierce summer. Is equipped with. Thus, when the coronavirus reached Italy, two grown-up sons stayed home at the age of 71 while diabetic Albiti took turns doing his job to keep the newsstand open. A fierce battle continued when I insisted that I was there.

“They were afraid I would die. I know they make me crazy,” Alvity said.

Throughout the pandemic, health authorities around the world have emphasized the need to protect people at highest risk of complications from COVID-19, a group of infectious disease and mortality data quickly revealed. Italy accounts for 23% of the population aged 65 and over, and 28%, the second largest population in the world after Japan.

The average age of deaths from COVID-19 in Italy is about 80 years, many of whom have previous medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Some politicians have advocated limiting the amount of time elders spend outside their homes in order to avoid the costly blockade of the general population.

Among them was the governor of Liguria, a coastal region in northwestern Italy, where 28.5 percent of the population is over 65 years old. Governor Giovanni Toti, 52, insisted on such an age-specific strategy when a second outbreak of infectious diseases struck Italy in the fall.

Elderly people are “mostly retired and not essential to productive efforts,” Toti said.

For Roman news vendors, they were a quarrel. Alvity said Toti’s remarks “sickened me. They made me very angry.”

“Elderly people live in this country. They are memories of this country,” he said. Self-employed seniors like him, in particular, “cannot be placed under a bell jar,” he said.

The devastating pandemic damage to older people, especially those in nursing homes, may have helped to strengthen age discrimination or prejudice against the segment of the population commonly referred to as the “elderly”.

The label “old” means “40, 50 years of life are grouped into one category,” says Nancy Morrow, a professor of social work at the University of Washington in St. Louis, who specializes in gerontology. Howell said. She recently said that people in their 60s often take care of their parents in their 90s.

“Ageism is very well accepted … it’s not questioned,” Morrow Howell said in a telephone interview. One form of it is “compassionate age discrimination,” Morrow Howell said, “we need to protect older adults.” We need to treat them as children. ”

Alvity’s family won the first round and kept him away from work until May. His sons begged him to stay home again when the coronavirus rebounded in the fall.

He compromised. One of his sons opened a newsstand at 6am, and Alvity took more than two hours to limit public access during the morning rush hours.

Faust Alvity said he was afraid of his father. “But I also know he’s at home. It would have been worse psychologically. He needs to be with people.”

At the outdoor food market in the Trullo district of Rome, producer Domenico Zoccoli, 80, also ridicules the belief that over-retirement people “do not produce (and must be protected)”.

Before dawn on a recent rainy day, Zoccoli turned the stalls into an array of bright colors: red and green cabbage boxes, radicchio, purple carrots, lush beet tops, and white, Cauliflower in shades of purple and orange, all harvested. It is about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from his farm.

“Elderly people have to do what they feel. If they can’t walk, they don’t walk. If they want to run, they run,” he said. After cleaning up the food stalls at 1:30 pm, he said he would skip lunch and work in the fields for a few more hours.

Marco Trabucci, a psychiatrist based in Brescia, a city in northern Italy, who specializes in behavior for older people, believes that the pandemic has helped people better rethink their attitudes.

“Little attention was paid to the personality of the old man. They seemed to be in an obscure category, they all had the same problems and all suffered,” Trabutch said.

In Italy, there is a chronic shortage of daycare centers, and a corps of elderly people decades after retirement is also a virtually essential worker by caring for their grandchildren.

According to Eurostat, the European Union’s Statistics Bureau, 35% of Italians over the age of 65 take care of their grandchildren several times a week.

Felice Santini, 79, and his wife, Rita Sintio, 76, are such a couple. They take care of the youngest of two of their four grandchildren several times a week.

“If we didn’t take care of them, their parents wouldn’t be able to work. We’re helping them (son and daughter-in-law) stay in a productive workforce.” Santini said.

Santini still works as a mechanic at an auto repair shop for half a day. Then, when he gets home, his hands get busy in the kitchen. Fill homemade cannelloni with sausages, make minced meat sauce, and bake orange-flavored bundt cake for your grandchildren.

Cintio finds it painful not to be able to hug or kiss his grandchildren. However, she accepted 9-year-old Gaia Santini when the girl gladly ran towards her after her grandmother navigated the narrow streets of Rome to pick her up at school. Cintio takes Gaia home and then accompanies an ice skating lesson.

Worried about the second surge of COVID-19, the couple’s son, Cristiano da Silni, said his parents tried to limit the frequency of seeing their children, but to little help.

“They are afraid of (infection), but they are more afraid of not living long because they are older and miss their previous time with their grandchildren,” he said.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

In gray Italy, an old rebellious bias stripped naked by a pandemic

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