Rosa Otero prepared another lonely dinner for dinner.
The Christmas Eve of the pandemic turned a precious moment that should have been spent with her family into another day for her widow living alone.
Otero, 83, usually travels from her neat Barcelona apartment to the northwestern region of Galicia, Spain, to spend winter vacations with her family.
However, travel restrictions and health authorities urged the increase in infections, which led Otero’s family to persuade them to cancel their holiday plans this year.
Otero is one of countless elderly people, most of whom are poor and hiding indoors. They feel more isolated than usual on Christmas Eve.
Otero missed the company of the public senior center in her community. She and many others often met with friends, chatted or played cards. Due to the pandemic, this small social island was cut off.
The only link that keeps their fragile lives in touch with the wider world is the local primary care clinic. As elsewhere in Spain, the heavily burdened medical workers fighting the virus in Spain have done their best to maintain home visits for the elderly who lack the means of complete self-care.
The lifelong home of 80-year-old Francisca Cano has become a warehouse for groceries. Cano weaves, cross-stitches, makes paper flowers, and uses the wood, plastic and paper she found on the street to make collages.
The pandemic meant that she could only talk to her two sisters over the phone.
Kano said: “We missed each other during the Christmas holidays.” “As I grew older, I went back to my childhood, making crafts like a girl. This is how I stay alone.”
Still others have eliminated social connections before COVID-19 became a social hazard.
José Ribes, 84, has been used to living alone since his wife left him. He kept the Spanish tradition of eating prawns on Christmas Eve. He shelled and ate the food supported on the bed, where he ate all his meals and smoked cigarettes, perpetuating the smell of stale tobacco in his home.
Libes said: “My life is like my mouth.” “I have nothing, and all the bottom teeth are still there. I have always been like that, nothing.”
Álvaro Puig also hardly noticed the effects of this virus, which prevented many families from gathering.
Puig is 81 years old and lives in an old butcher’s shop specializing in horse meat. He started his business after inheriting from his parents. After a long period of business closure, the countertops where he received customers, the scales where he weighed meat, and the cash register at which he checked out were all intact. The walk-in refrigerator has become his miniature living room in the life of the scrapped bachelor. He was there watching TV with his pet rabbit, and he rescued the rabbit from the street.
Puig said: “I feel lonely these days. I often feel depressed.” “These holidays did not make me happy, but made me sad. I hate them. Most families have passed away. I am the last one left. I will spend Christmas alone at home because I have no one to spend it.”