Seniors across the world are suffering from a second pandemic — loneliness. But a couple of police officers in Italy had the perfect remedy for one couple in their 80s and 90s.
Desperate for Human Connection
No one had visited 84-year-old Jole and 94-year-old Michele in months. Meanwhile, all they saw on TV was stories of war and abuse — and this was well before the COVID-19 pandemic and increase in extreme weather events seen in the last couple of years.
So, they cried out of desperation. So much so, that a neighbor called the police.
“It is not always an easy life,” police wrote about the incident in a 2016 Facebook post reported by the Independent. “Especially when the city is empty and the neighbours are away on vacation. Sometimes the loneliness melts into tears. Sometimes it’s like a summer storm. It comes suddenly and overtakes one.”
“Jole and Michele, they love each other. But when the loneliness is a burden on the heart, it may happen that they lose hope,” the statement continued. “Can happen, like this time, that they scream so loud in their despair that, in the end, somebody calls the state police.”
A Dollop of Humanity
Four officers identified as Andrea, Alessandro, Ernesto, and Mirko responded to the call, but instead of dismissing their loneliness, they did something remarkable — they made them dinner. Pasta with parmesan to be exact.
“There isn’t a crime. Jole and Michele are not victims of scams, as often happens to the elderly and no burglar came in the house. There’s no one to save,” continued the post. “This time, for the boys flying over, there is a more difficult task to perform. There are two lonely souls to reassure.”
According to the statement, the police asked for permission to access the pantry and improvise dinner.
“A bowl of pasta with butter and cheese. Nothing special. But with a precious ingredient: inside it is humanity.”
Questura di Roma
There’s a Cure for Loneliness
While this story occurred a few years ago, it’s no less relevant today.
So many people, especially seniors, suffer from loneliness. The issue even prompted a grocery store chain in the Netherlands to make “chat registers” so employees can visit lonely customers.
But this pandemic has a cure. We must be kind and check in on our elders, whether they’re family or otherwise. How? Stop for a chat if you see them on the street. Volunteer. Give seniors you know a call more frequently. Or, maybe, make someone a pasta dinner.
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