File- An elderly man holds prayer beads in Sidon, Friday, March 24, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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"I have no one," 68-year-old Margot Haddad said while sitting inside her 11-square-meter home in Beirut's Karm al-Zeitoun neighborhood.Haddad, who has lived like this for the past 19 years, doesn't see much change in the future.Haddad and Umm Nabil are part of a growing segment of Lebanon's elderly population -- people 65 years old and older -- who live without family assistance.According to Dr. Abla Mehio Sibai, co-founder and president of the Center for Studies on Aging, approximately 3 percent of elderly women and some 6.2 percent of elderly men in the country live alone. In 2014, Lebanon's elderly made up 7.3 percent of the population. Accordingly, the hardest hit by this demographic shift will be elderly middle and lower class people like Haddad and Umm Nabil who do not have families on which to depend.At the moment, Beit al-Baraka supports just under 300 families, focusing on retirees who are able to work despite remaining unemployed.Sibai, while enthusiastic about new organizations catering to Lebanon's elderly population, still expressed concern that the problem would not be solved without policy changes and state intervention.
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