An elderly man stops to rest while pushing his belongings in a shopping cart through Karm al-Zeitoun. (Photo by Karim Sakr)
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Elias has driven the same old grey Mercedes through the streets of Beirut for over 30 years.However, the Oct. 17 uprising helped bring the issue to light.While former government and military employees receive small pension payments after retirement and health insurance both before and after they retire, people like Elias, who work in the private sector, lose all such benefits when they stop working -- exactly the moment they need them most.As a result, many older people without savings and family support are forced to work until they are no longer physically able. According to Ibrahimchah, while the subject is rarely discussed, suicide rates among older people are on the rise.Established in 2017, Beit El Baraka provides emergency aid and an array of support services to vulnerable senior citizens and their families. Funded primarily by private donations, the organization works on three levels: a free supermarket from which they can take items they need; a program to restore apartments and help cover housing costs for older tenants; and a scheme that finances medical treatments, such as surgeries and dental care.According to Ibrahimchah, Beit El Baraka tries to house as many people as it can in the surrounding area.
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