September 23, 2004

SECULAR SOCIETY IN A NUTSHELL:

A lonely Italian retiree puts himself up for adoption: His case is bringing awareness to the larger problem of how to care for Italy's aging population. (Sophie Arie, 9/23/04, CS Monitor)

Seven cats and a modest book collection are all that 79-year-old Giorgio Angelozzi has for company on most days.

High up in the hills east of Rome, the retired teacher lives in a humble two-room flat overlooking a valley of rolling olive groves. The house is tidy, except for a layer of cat fluff that reappears after the cleaning lady's weekly visit. In a side cabinet sit Greek dictionaries and works by Horace and Pliny.

Things are quiet, too quiet.

After 12 years alone since the death of his wife, this summer Mr. Angelozzi became so desperate for human contact that he put himself up for adoption. In a newspaper classified, he offered to pay 500 euros to live with a family and teach their children.

"The days went by and I used to count," he says. "There were some days when I counted zero. I had not said a word all day."

Angelozzi's story has triggered a nationwide attack of guilt and public debate over how best to care for the elderly.


Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2004 4:34 PM
Comments

This is a problem in the US as well.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 23, 2004 6:31 PM
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