Stuck for years in the doldrums of the economic crisis Greece has seen not only its young generations leave the country. Now the country faces a new phenomenon: the elders drain.
Elderly pensioners who suffer from taxes, price hikes and expensive utility bills and cannot afford a descent living in the country anymore.
They move to neighboring countries in the North, where the cost of living is affordable.
This is the result of a demographic research conducted by Emke Poulopoulou, vice president of the Hellenic Society for Demographic Studies and member of the Academy of Sciences in New York.
Pensioners who supported unemployed sons and daughters for years during the crisis are economically drained, they have become helpless and can no longer pay the price for the unemployment of their families.
Over-taxation and rising prices for basic necessities have dramatically aggravated the pensioners’ lives (and hence their troubled family environment).
Particularly affected are those with serious health problems and who are at risk to see their pensions cut further due to the upcoming measure imposed by Greece’s creditors.
“Before the crisis and since the family home was not hit by unemployment, elderly facing health or mobility problems had the possibility to pay with their pension and/or their children financial aid for home care or nursing home. Unfortunately, this is a luxury nowadays,” Poulopoulou told Athens news agency amna.
Emke Poulopoulou revealed that next to brain drain that affects the young generations now there is an elders drain.
In order to survive, those elderly move now out of Greece and migrate to neighboring Bulgaria when the cost of living is cheaper than in Greece.
“Pensioners are leaving the country in an attempt to live a dignified live away from poverty and misery,” Poulopoulou said.
“The population of Greece under persecution,” she underlined.
She suggested that what triggers elders’ migration is their familiarization with foreign women who came to Greece and worked as home carers in the last decades.
” With the onset of the crisis, the labor market for these women has shrunk. Returning to their homeland, they inform the retired Greeks that they intend to host them at their homes abroad, at a price much lower than what is required in Greece either in a nursing home, a private clinic, or a live-in carer.” Papadopoulou said.
“Let us not be surprised,” Emke Poulopoulou told amna. “By making such a choice, people can even save some of their pension money as living in any other Balkan country is possibly much cheaper than living in Greece.”
“If you ask me now … is it right? Perhaps it is not an honor for our country,” she said adding “tight is, however, whatever every person chooses for a living, from elementary to comfortable standard.”
That pensioners in North Greece migrate in cheaper Bulgaria is not new. I remember some relevant reports in local media a few years ago. There are small colonies of Greek and other European elderly migrants in certain cities in Bulgaria.
Now the phenomenon has been subject scientific research.