Many elderly people living in some of the Netherlands’ smallest villages know no one who can help them out in times of need, according to new research by the government’s socio-cultural think-tank SCP.
One in 11 people aged over 75 have no one to turn to and one-third feel they are not valued by other villagers, researcher Lotte Vermeij found.
She bases her research on 7,000 people living in a village with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants.
By contrast, younger villagers live much of their lives outside the village. Two-thirds say all or most of their friends live elsewhere.
Nevertheless, 75% say they know at least 20 other villagers by their first name and half say they could call on at least five other villagers for help.
The cabinet wants elderly people to rely more on friends and family for help in remaining in their own homes rather than social services. This research shows that villagers are equally at risk of social exclusion as town dwellers, the NRC points out.
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