Municipalities helping those in need in rural areas during coronavirus ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Pille Rajasaar, quarantining during the coronavirus emergency situation,  being interviewed by
Pille Rajasaar, quarantining during the coronavirus emergency situation, being interviewed by "Aktuaalne kaamera" from her balcony. Source: ERR

Sunday night's edition of ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera. Nädal" looked at the plight of people in at-risk groups in rural areas of Estonia, including the elderly, as well as those with large families. The show caught up with how they were surviving, and the local authority's obligation to provide for them in times of need.

The Kikerpill family, from Tartu County, with six children, has been staying at home for the second week, with know sign of how long that will continue.

"While the kids in kindergarten used to have one day off a week, to stave off tiredness, nowadays they are wondering why there are so many days off from kindergarten. This has been quite difficult. Already, " said Monica Kikerpill (unlike schools, kindergartens have not been closed across the country-ed.).

The local shop is open only to the family's mother, though the municipality has also provided food aid.

 "It's only me who still goes to the store, about twice a week. At the moment we are looking at having to buy more food than during the summer holidays. /.../ We have always done our best, but the child protection specialist provided us with food aid, and we accepted it," she went on.

Anne-Mai Ott, a Tartu County social worker, explained that school lunches are being provided to school children, who are now having their lessons conducted online at home. People at risk can call the social worker themselves and express their wishes.

"We draw up a grocery list, go to the store, buy items and then deliver them to the door. There is no contact, so to speak. /.../ And later when we can begin stabilizing this situation, we will bill the recipients, "Ott said.

Ott noted the municipality's obligation to assist people in the current situation: "That's our job - to help our people," she said.

Kalda day care center in Tartu caters to the elderly, another high-risk group. 

And naturally they are not afraid of death, but they are afraid that a funeral cannot be held," said care worker Tiiu Maasing.

Maasing added that the biggest concern for many in the current state of affairs is not so much health but loneliness. 

"The health can be very bad, pain can be great, but loneliness is the most difficult thing," she said.

Arvo Teder has been with his senior men's club for nine years; now he can't partake in it for much longer.

"Nine years ago, I read in the newspaper that there was a group of men, this senior club," he said, adding that its activities included billiards and bowling.

"In two weeks all will be over. /.../ We closed the doors and probably won't open again soon," he added.

Keep fit enthusiast and senior citizen Pille Rajasaar had been surprised to learn that she could no longer leave home and was having to self-quarantine.

"This is the worst outcome for me. But since I accept it now, who knows. The sun is shining, I'm very, very happy," she said, in an interview given from her apartment balcony, adding she engages in home gymnastics followed by coffee and ETV's "Terevisioon" before thinking about what to do next.

She also noted the positive aspects to quarantine. 

"There are things that really need to be done now. And now's the time to do what we haven't done. We can sort through our albums and stuff. I'd say for the first time, I feel proud to be pensioner," she went on.

Mr Teder admitted that it was a difficult time, but had found things to occupy himself with. 

"Fortunately, I go to the woods by car, by the lake, in the wild. It's one of the main pastimes. And, crossword puzzles, sudoku," he added.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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