Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has started a year of community service at a Catholic hospice for Alzheimer’s patients near Milan. The billionaire tycoon who was convicted of tax fraud has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in the care home. Berlusconi opted for community service rather than house arrest to serve out his commuted sentence. According to the BBC’s correspondent in Rome, this option will make it easier for him to get involved in his center-right Forza Italia parties campaign, in the upcoming European elections. However, he will not be allowed to use his community service for political showmanship.
As he arrived at the hospice, Berlusconi was heckled by a trade unionist in a clown hat who shouted:
To prison!...We Italian workers have one dream in our hearts: Berlusconi in San Vittore! (a prison in Milan).
Berlusconi Will get a Gradual Introduction to the Work
According to Massimo Restelli, head of the hospice’s care services, Berlusconi will be gradually inducted in the hospice so that he and the elderly patients could get used to each other. Resrelli told La Repubblica newspaper: "It will be small steps so as not to make any mistakes, and then he could do all sorts of things. He could help with meals, which are tricky because sometimes you have to ’remind’ the patient that they are eating". He also said giving baths was more problematic because of the physical strength needed.
Berlusconi is not Concerned About the Idea of Community Service
Interestingly, the former Italian Prime Minister was reported to have been studying Alzheimer’s disease in preparation for his community service. Berlusconi admitted in previous interviews that he has a “big surprise” coming up and has hinted that this could involve a deeper commitment to Alzheimer’s patients. The 77-year-old man told a radio show:
I think in the end I will stay a lot longer than I have to. I have a big surprise prepared. It took me just 10 days to learn the different cure methods that can be used.
Emilio Fede, a former television anchor who was found guilty of procuring prostitutes for Berlusconi said that the former Italian prime minister would carry out his community service “well and with humanity”, adding that the service would be a tribute to Berlusconi’s late mother, Rosa.
All in all, the billionaire tycoon, might have complained that he was unjustly convicted, yet so far has shown that he’s taking his new role seriously.