„If she hadn't come this winter, I would not longer exist.“
Lenka Arsić, 81 years old
Lenka lives in the village of Dekutince. Her house stands lonely, with no neighbors, and is some distance from the nearest paved road. The 81 year old woman no longer has any relatives or friends, nor does she has the opportunity to see a doctor, despite her health problems. Like Lenka, many elderly people in rural Serbia feel the same way. In our interview, she tells us how a new mobile care service from Volkshilfe has changed her life.
How are you living here Lenka?
For the last 30 years I have lived here alone. If Goca (Gordana) had not come this winter, I would no longer exist. I have no relatives since my brother died in 2012. Goca is both for me now, my brother and my sister.
I was born in this house, I have lived here all my life and I will stay here until it ends. The house is as old as I am, it has an earth floor, there are mice, Goca brought me traps. I don't have a bathroom, only a big washing bowl. In summer I let the water bottles warm up in the sun, then I sit on the terrace and wash myself. When I wake up in the morning, I make fire, but my stove is not good. I can't bake on it anymore. I used to make bread myself, but now the kneading has become too hard for me, and Goca brings me fresh bread every week. In winter I have a blanket and a quilt to cover myself with, so I don't get cold.
i live off my father's pension, which is 13,200 dinars (112 euros). it's hard to get by with so little money. My health is not so good. I can't climb stairs anymore and I fell three months ago. So I sit and lie down most of the time. I take medicine against high blood pressure and for the heart. Goca also brings me the medicine.
How has Corona changed your life?
I am lonely. My friend from the village doesn't come to visit me since Corona, we spent a lot of time together. No one comes to see me anymore. I am alone and sometimes I am afraid, I hear so much on TV about the virus, that you should not go out, how many people get infected, get sick, sometimes I can't sleep, then I take a pill.
How difficult is it to live alone here?
I am always alone and people steal things from me. My father had tools in the hut, a plow and other tools. One evening I heard noises outside. They took everything.
How has mobile support changed your life?
Nobody helped me before. No one has brought me anything. I just don't have a family anymore. Since the winter, Goca has been coming regularly. When she is not there, there is disorder, then she comes to clean up. She brings me wood to heat, builds fires, and puts the firewood on the patio so I don't have to go outside. I trust her absolutely. She makes me stew, macaroni, vegetables and beans, she cooks very well. When the weather is nice, she takes me to the terrace so I can get some sun, then we laugh and talk.
What kind of support helps you the most?
It means a lot to me that Goca visits me regularly. I am always happy when she comes and very sad when she leaves. Sometimes I cry. The doctor's visit also means a lot to me. She took my blood pressure and examined my spine because I have a lot of problems walking. The doctor told me if I need anything, I can call her anytime and she will come. That alone, means so much to me.