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Spain: crisis strains generational relationships

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Spain: crisis strains generational relationships


Against the backdrop of speculation that Spain may be the next eurozone member to need a bailout, the country’s economic crisis is having an effect on generational relationships.

Mother and daughter Isabel and Magdalena now live together after they both lost their apartments.

Magdalena was forced to leave after guaranteeing a loan her daughter could not repay once she lost her job.

“At work, cuts and redundancies were made gradually until we were all called together and told: tomorrow, you don’t have to come to work!” said Isabel.

Isabel’s mother Magdalena described the financial hardship: “I have a pension of 460 euros for living. I pay for a room for me and my daughter, and another room for our things. I have only 70 euros a month left to buy food.”

Catholic charity Caritas says 40 percent of people seeking help used to be middle class.

A quarter of people in Spain are jobless. This means increasing numbers of adults are having to move in with their elderly parents.

One of them is Carlos Vesperinas who said: “The hardest part of coming back is to actually come back, to depend on my parents again.”

More older people finding themselves taking care of younger relatives has hidden costs as well.

“My son who’s married eats with me every day. I don’t know wether he loves his mother’s food or he loves to save money,” said one woman buying food at a market in Madrid.

Spain has the highest rate in Europe of multi-generational families all living together, and as the crisis continues, this figure looks set to rise.

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