Keep a Watch on the Elderly

Within a space of just 48 hours, three elderly people were found dead in their homes in Torrevieja last week.

As the nights get darker and the temperature drops it is not uncommon for elderly people to feel isolated in their homes, sometimes afraid to go out, sometimes just feeling safer in the confines of their own homes, and as a tragic result of those feelings, the number of instances of people being found dead in their homes increases.

The first incident in Torrevieja last week was on Wednesday when the lifeless body of a woman was found in her bed at home. Then, on Thursday, an 82-year old man was found by a neighbour, with indications showing that he had been dead for a week. The third incident was also a man who failed to answer calls from his son who then raised the alarm and sent his brother to the property. Upon arriving at the house the brother instantly noted a bad smell but was unable to open the door with his keys as the father had left his keys in the lock on the inside, a common practice, especially amongst the elderly, fearful of their locks being picked.

Only fire fighters are allowed to enter a domestic property by force, and only if there is imminent danger. Under these circumstances, the Guardia Civil had to request permission of a judge to enter the property, thus prolonging to wait to ascertain what had happened.

Upon entering, the man was found on his bed, with his feet on the ground, showing clear signs of decomposition and surrounded by his most treasured possessions, including a photograph of his wife next to him.

In Torrevieja, more than 30% of the population is over 60, and around 10% are over 75 years of age. Many are not native in the town and move here with partners, only to be separated by death, leaving one alone to face the inevitable.

Please, if you know of an elderly neighbour living alone, check on them regularly. If they are a family member you may want to suggest an alarm and alert system, either way, it is more important than ever in the run up to Christmas that we all keep an eye out for those who may not be able to look after themselves, or may be living in fear alone.

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