– Very sad – VG

MANY LONELY IN THE CITY: City councilor Rina Mariann Hansen believes that Oslo citizens must contribute to making the capital a city where people feel a sense of belonging and community. – I think we need to care more in everyday life, care about who our neighbors are and how they feel, she says. Photo: Frode Hansen

A retired man lay dead for nine years before anyone found him. – In a big city like Oslo, there are unfortunately many who live anonymous and often lonely lives, says the social services council.

– It is very sad to hear about individuals who die alone without relatives calling for them, writes social services councilor in Oslo Rina Mariann Hansen (Labor Party) in an e-mail to VG.

On Saturday, NRK published a case about an elderly man who lay dead in his apartment for a full nine years before he was found. The man was retired and lived in a block east of Oslo.

The man died in 2011 – for natural reasons. For the past nine years, according to NRK, neighbors believed that he was in an institution or that he had moved.

The man is not alone in having been undetected for a long time after his death.

According to NRK, last year 27 people in Oslo, Asker and Bærum died for over seven days before they were found. In 2019, there were 32 people – among them a woman who was found dead in her apartment on Grünerløkka in Oslo. Then she had been lying there for five months.

FOUND AFTER FIVE MONTHS: In July 2019, a woman was found dead in her apartment on Grünerløkka in Oslo. Then she had been lying there for five months. Photo: Hallgeir Vagenes

– In a big city like Oslo, there are unfortunately many who live anonymous and often lonely lives, sometimes self-selected. The busy city life may make it easier for us as fellow human beings to forget to care, says social services councilor Hansen.

– I think we need to care more in everyday life, care about who our neighbors are and how they feel. Maybe ask a little more often how they are doing.

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Karin Marie (83) has had to eat alone for four months: – It’s lonely

Between 2013 and 2017, there were 140 people in Oslo who lay dead for more than a week, according to an overview Aftenposten made in 2018.

The Social Services Council believes that the case shows that all Oslo citizens must contribute to making the capital a city where people feel a sense of belonging and community.

– We can all do our part to make Oslo a warmer and more inclusive city.

– The pandemic has taught us something about what lack of human contact in everyday settings does to us. Perhaps the experiences we are making now during the pandemic enable us as a society to take better care of each other.

City Councilor for Health, the Elderly and Citizen Services in Oslo, Robert Steen (Labor Party), did not have the opportunity to comment on the matter on Saturday.

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