María Branyas is a name that may become synonymous with resilience. 113-years-old, she has survived the Spanish Flu of 1918-19, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 and the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
Branyas was in isolation for weeks after contracting Covid-19 in the care home she has lived in for two decades in the city of Olot, in the Girona region of Catalonia. But she recovered, after only suffering mild symptoms.
“Now that she is well, she is wonderful, she wants to speak, to explain, to make her reflections, it is her again,” her daughter said, following her recovery.
Branyas, the oldest person in Catalonia and the second oldest in Spain, lived her first years in the US before her father, a journalist, moved the family back to his home country during WW1, after going bankrupt in San Francisco.
“I have done nothing but live,” she said in an interview last year.
“She is always giving us life lessons, she is always concerned about others,” a carer at the home told La Vanguardia.
Branyas story reminds us that while we must remember those who have succumbed to Covid-19, we should also keep in mind the many who have recovered. Worldometer puts the current global death figure at 292,914 – with 1,604,562 recovered.
Wednesday has become a very grim day in the Scottish week. It is the day when the latest care home figures are revealed. We cannot let-up in scrutinising the awful crisis in Scotland’s care homes that has taken far too many lives, not just for those who have gone and their loved ones, but also for those who survive Covid-19, many of whom will have felt horribly cut-adrift from the world as they fight this disease in isolation. For the survivors as much as anything, we should resolve to ensure that care homes are places where well-being is guaranteed, with the needs of carers and residents put well-before the profits of providers.
And keep in mind some wise-words from Branyas: “We have no choice but to put up with the politicians, they always do the same thing.”
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