André Alves

HL AALVES 01744 2

A Parallel World

This nursing home is located in a small village called Pousa, in Barcelos Portugal.

It has 36 residents and was also attacked by the covid19. Like many other nursing homes, this one has also cut off all outside activities for the residents, protecting them in the new inner dome. At the same time, it has forbidden contact with relatives (there are still visitors, but they stay outside the mute windows). How to reconcile the care of the people and the safety of each one? How to maintain the link and avoid seeing the residents sink and die, not from the coronavirus but from loneliness? This work was conducted in the middle of the covid 19 pandemic, in July 2021.

When you enter in the nursing home, it is as if you enter a parallel world. Small spaces are created and their life adapts to them, a space to pray, a social space where they can talk about the news they watch on TV, as well as a small corner to play dominoes and cards. Most of the people who come to the retirement home are in some way alone, because they have lost their wives or husbands and their families are too far away or too busy to provide the necessary care, and it’s not always for lack of love, but because society forces us to work long hours and we don’t have time to dedicate to them.

António Lopes has been in the nursing home for 5 years now, he was a very kind person and unfortunately nowadays he is totally dependent, he still has the support of his family who visit him whenever possible. Rosa Bogas looks very worried, Antonio’s condition is fragile, but the fragility is mostly in his appearance that shocks most people.

Rosa Bogas is now 85 years old, during her life she has always been a very autonomous person, unfortunately she had a stroke and had to enter the nursing home and is now totally dependent, she is from Pousa where the nursing home is located.

Alice is from Douro, a wine region very well known for its famous wines. She came to the home because she lives alone, she is very friendly and participates in all activities, she is also a very religious person, she prays the rosary everyday.

Carvalho is a very sweet person and has Alzheimer’s, the most common of the eight forms of dementia, in Portugal there are more than 200,000 people with dementia and most of them live in nursing homes, in Europe there are almost eight million people with dementia and in the world more than 50 million, the ONS estimates that this number will triple by the year 2050.

This is the play area, where Maximino, Lobato, Alberto and Manuel spend hours and hours playing dominoes or taking a little nap in their chair. Maximino is taking a little nap while he waits his turn to play, he was emigrated for many years in Argentina and likes to speak Spanish, he is alone in Portugal because his children stayed in Argentina. Alberto came after he had a stroke, he was no longer able to live alone, he is a quiet person. Manuel came here with his wife Rosa, they are the only couple in the nursing home, they lived in Padim da Graça in the Braga district, they are here due to health problems that prevent them from living alone. Abilio Lobato was born in ponte de sor in the district of Portalegre, in the region of Alentejo, he was emigrated for several years in Germany. He has psychiatric problems but they don’t stop him from being funny and having his own brand image, he always walks around with sunglasses and headphones.