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We are often accused of being lazy’


Leaving the parental home is considered a milestone in the transition from childhood to adulthood. The reasons behind this step may vary from being materially independent to studying, working, moving in with a partner, getting married, or having children.
Portuguese men and women seem to remain forever young and stay with their parents for quite some time. In fact, making them the oldest to leave home in Europe.


According to Eurostat the average age at which youngsters leave their home in the EU is 26,5 years but varies greatly between member states. Although Portugal (33,6 years) records the highest average age of young people leaving their parents’ home, Sweden has the lowest (19 years). A difference of more than 14 years!


This disparity reflects the various challenges young people face across Europe as well as cultural differences between countries.


On average young women (25,5 years) move out of their parental household some two years earlier than men (27,4 years) and countries where young people leave home at an older age are more likely to have a lower force rate of participation.



For youngsters in Portugal, housing and income are the biggest challenges. The scenario is well known: buying a house is nearly impossible (prices have increased by 50% in the last five years), rents are far too high, wages do not grow at the same pace and there are more and more obstacles to accessing credit. Moreover, inflation is skyrocketing and energy prices increasing by the day.

Sociologist Lia Pappamikail believes that living with parents should not be perceived as a negative thing.
‘The two things can be reconciled: I can be perfectly independent and live at home with my parents. This does not mean that I am not autonomous; it means that I can do what I want and also have the resources to do it’

However, this does not apply to everyone explains Ana Lopes, a 26-year-old occupational therapist. ‘We are often accused of being lazy. But in reality, it is the external conditions that make the process of leaving home complicated. I get along very well with my parents but what I really want is my own space, a place to be myself and build my life’.
Susana Peralta, professor of Economics at the Nova School of Business and Economics, agrees with her. ‘We are less free when we live together. You are never as free as when you are alone’.

Enjoy The Week                    Boa Semana                 (pic Público/Sapo)





Impairment

‘Assistance, work and independence’

‘We aren’t  2nd hand citizens!’

Last May, Joao Rodriguez – a 95% physically restricted and wheelchair dependent quadriplegic from Figueira da Foz – was happy his brother could bring him to Lisbon, to attend the nationwide demonstration of disabled people, demanding a raise in the budget for the Support Centres for Independent Living. Some protesters only send their shoes, as they were too physically impaired to personally attend the march in Lisbon.

Eduardo Jorge – quadriplegic, bedridden since age 28 and living in a nursing home – requires continuous care for 24 hours a day. He owns a house and wants to be cared for at home, but doubts if he will get there the  24/7 support, he desperately needs. He demonstrated last week outside Parliament in his bed.

Support Centres for Independent Living (CAVI) is a state-funded pilot project providing ambulatory assistance to disabled people older than 16 years, who are at least 60% physically impaired.

The intention of the government is to subsidize each centre with 1,4 million euros for a period of 3 years, by which the centre has to support 10 to 50 persons – 70% of them with assistance up to 40 hours a week and 30% for more than 40 hours ( to a maximum of 24 hours per day).

Far too little’, says Diana Santos, president of the Centre for Independent Living, who organized the demonstration in May.
‘At least 5 million is needed for each centre, especially if you want to help 50 people properly.’

In addition to a greater autonomy, pressure groups demand more jobs and better accessibility of public buildings and spaces.
Although Parliament already in 2004 adopted a law, obliging companies to employ a minimal number of disabled personnel – 5% in public institutions and 1% in private enterprises – in practice these numbers are far from being met. Unemployment among physically impaired people even increased by 24% between 2011 and 2017.

The Trade Union Association of Portuguese Judges (ASJP) declared in an open letter to the Minister of Justice this year, that at least 55 courts of law are not accessible for persons with reduced mobility and 74 more have architectural hurdles. There is a lack of specific facilities like parking lots, ramps for wheelchairs, adapted elevators and lavatories.
‘This really has to change, not only because it is legally required but also because of dignity, equality, and solidarity.’

BOAS FESTAS                            HAPPY HOLIDAYS              (pic Público/Sapo) 

 

 

 

Beperking

‘Is Lissabon een geschikte stad om naar toe te gaan’, vroeg Rob, mijn collega, die in een rolstoel zit. Ik hoefde niet lang na te denken. Natuurlijk, het is er prachtig en je bent er zo met het vliegtuig. Maar met een rolstoel de stad in?

De belangrijkste handicap van Lissabon voor mensen met een beperking is, dat de stad – net als Rome – op zeven heuvelen is gebouwd en bezaaid met trappen. Rolstoelen houden niet van hellingen en al helemaal niet van trappen.
Een tweede obstakel zijn de hobbelige keitjes, waarvan een groot deel los of ontbrekend. Bovendien zijn de stoepranden hoog, de trottoirs smal en frustreren willekeurig geplaatste paaltjes vaak een soepele doorgang.

Het openbaar vervoer biedt geen soelaas. De pittoreske trammetjes, ‘onthoofde’ sightseeing-bussen en ronkende tuk-tuks zijn absoluut niet toegankelijk. Taxi’s zijn goedkoop maar taxichauffeurs niet altijd vriendelijk als de medepassagier een rolstoel blijkt te zijn.

Meer autonomie
De linkse regering wil mensen met een beperking – die vaak in instellingen verblijven – meer autonomie geven door hen in hun eigen vertrouwde omgeving te laten wonen.
Daarvoor moeten dan wel persoonlijke hulpverleners opgeleid worden, die – voor twee keer het minimumloon – zorgtaken in huis op zich gaan nemen.

Publieke debat

Onder druk van de publieke opinie en belangenorganisaties is het voorstel aangepast. De minimum leeftijd voor individuele ondersteuning wordt verlaagd van 18 naar 16 jaar. Dit om scholieren met een beperking beter naar volwassenheid te kunnen begeleiden. Ook zal de eerder voorgestelde ondersteuning van maximaal 40 uur per week worden losgelaten, voor mensen die meer zorg nodig hebben.

‘Hoe kun je onze vrijheid tot 8 uur per dag beperken? Blijven we dan de andere 16 uur in bed?’, merkte een woedende – geheel verlamde – Eduardo Jorge hierover in het Parlement op.

De rolstoelafhankelijke 26-jarige Lúcia Fisteus ziet de voorstellen wel zitten, maar wil haar hulpverleners zelf uitzoeken. ‘Zo iemand komt heel dicht bij je intimiteit. Veel meer nog dan je beste vriendin.’

Nooit meer in de rij

Mocht Rob alsnog besluiten te gaan, dan wacht hem een verassing. Er is namelijk pas een wet aangenomen, die niet toestaat dat mensen met een beperking in een rij moeten wachten, ook niet voor een restaurant.
Een wet die volgens de Staatssecretaris van Participatie Ana Sofia Antunes – zelf visueel beperkt – ‘eigenlijk niet nodig zou moeten zijn als we ons gewoon beleefd gedragen.’

Geniet van het weekend       Tenha um ótimo fim de semana