Caracas, Venezuela — The most dreaded part of Sr. Emilia Rivero's day comes each morning.
When she opens the door to the nursing home she runs in downtown Caracas, she almost always finds six to eight senior citizens, sometimes with their families, waiting outside, hoping she has space. Rivero usually has to turn them away.
"We can't take in anybody else because of the food situation. We have to give them three meals a day and we can't," she said.
As Venezuela's unprecedented economic crisis drags on for a fifth year, the four sisters from the Hermanitas de los Pobres de Maiquetía congregation that run the Providence Asylum nursing home face a heartbreaking dilemma: record demand, but record low resources.
A few years back the sisters started gradually reducing the number of new residents accepted. While the space could house up to 100 seniors, today the sisters only have enough food and money to take care of 45.
"Once we get enough food for them all, then we have to worry about their medicines," said Rivero.
Venezuela continues to endure what most consider the worst economic crisis of its history, sparked by a drop in oil prices and years of mismanagement and corruption. The minimum wage now equates to just a few dollars per month. Many economists now believe the country, already boasting the world's highest inflation, has entered hyperinflation. Prices double roughly every month.
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