Children with disabilities: what will become of them when we die?

Image: Children with disabilities: what will become of them when we die?

The economic crisis has nothing to do with the case of the antiquarian from Abano Terme (Italy) that took his own life in the last few weeks. It is, instead, a story of social desperation and solitude. The 70-year-old man hanged himself and his two disabled children could not but wait for days that someone came in help. In a letter addressed to his family, the old father witnessed the pain of his existence and the increasingly higher concern for the future of his children: «do not worry for me, I do not want a funeral, just take care of my children».

This sad story shed light on the theme of people with disabilities in need of care and on how their relatives take daily care of them, often with poor attention from the society. A dramatic question nags parents of children who are not self-sufficient: what will become of them, when I die?  To take care of adults and elderly people in need of care and to ensure them a future should be a moral duty and a civil responsibility of the State.

In the last few days, an awareness-raising campaign towards institutions was launched by the NNN (acronym for Network Non Autosufficienza). They asked the Monti’s government to give the go ahead to the national reform for dependent people care, so as to envisage a different future for these citizens.  The reform, a Pact for people who are not self-sufficient that may be signed in the short term, should be subscribed by the State, together with Regional Governments and Municipalities. According to the NNN, there is high consensus among the experts on the actions that must be taken; everybody knows “what should be done”, but the problem is “to start doing it”. Moreover, according to advocates, to start a reform it would be wise to do a marginal economic effort for public budgets. The Pact proposed, with four thematic areas, contains a medium-term strategic overview (2012-2017) and some measures to start to put it into action.

In a total different context, Lorenzo de’ Medici wrote “del doman non v’è certezza” (about tomorrow, there is no certainty). Well, if this goes for the so-called able-bodied people, imagine how the burden o fan unknown future becomes heavier for people with disabilities. For this reason as well, urging the creation of solutions meant to guarantee a good life quality to people who are not self-sufficient must be the rule for every citizen interested in a more equal society.