Thursday, December 8

The association of older volunteers celebrates 25 years helping in Mérida

Act of tribute to the greatest volunteers in the city. / JM ROMERO

There are those who are dedicated to those who live alone or cannot leave home, those who act as guides and others who teach computer science

“I have been volunteering for nine years to help the elderly and it is something that fills me,” explains Pepita Pérez, president of the Emeritense Volunteer Association for the Elderly. Like her, there are many elderly people who decide to devote their lives to helping other elderly people.

This volunteering platform, which has 30 people, has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and for this reason the Merida Volunteering Platform has decided to honor them.

For Pepita Pérez, this volunteer activity is a satisfaction, since it helps people who need to be listened to and dialogue with them. Her mother stayed in a wheelchair when she was still working, she found out that this volunteer platform existed and got in touch so that someone could accompany her in the afternoons. Seeing how happy her mother made her, she decided to sign up to help other people.

“Volunteering brings me many benefits in my own physical and mental health, there are many doctors who recommend doing it because it is very favorable,” explains Pérez.

Pedro Jiménez has also been immersed in the Association of Computer Scientists for the Elderly of Extremadura (Avimex) for nine years, since 2013, and is also a cultural volunteer in the Consortium. He helps others to solve administrative procedures. «I became a volunteer when I retired and I decided to help the elderly with information technology, since I really like to learn, and since I also love the history of the city, I am in charge of disseminating knowledge. I have received a gift and I have to give it, I cannot keep it».

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In the monuments of the city, he is responsible for providing this cultural information to groups of older people who are going to visit them, informing them of many details of these enclaves that many did not know.

“I like working with older people because while you explain to them, they are also teaching me something from when they were little or when they passed through those places,” explained Jiménez.

Satisfaction is what he feels being a volunteer, especially when people are satisfied with his explanations and when the older ones learn some computer skills. “We provide them with knowledge so that they can request, for example, an appointment digitally at the doctor.”

Likewise, there are also volunteers who have been working for much longer than them, such as Gonzalo Lavado, Isabel González and María Mateos, who have been collaborating for 25 years.

Each of the volunteers who attended this act of homage was given a gift. It is a pot full of flowers, a symbol of fragility that can be extrapolated to the condition of many older people.

Catalina Alarcón, Delegate for the Elderly, was present at this act, who announced some of the activities that are going to be held in October, coinciding with the month for the elderly, such as the celebration on October 28 of a conviviality in the restaurant El Yate, a day that has been described as a “party” and a “reunion” with all the elderly. «Volunteering and seniors are two terms full of life, affection and dedication. And if there are older people volunteering, it is to take their hats off to them, what they do is priceless, “said Alarcón. José Vicente Granado, director of Sepad, also attended, who defined them as an example for their way of empathizing with others.

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Mérida’s senior volunteers reach out to many different camps. There are those who provide company and assistance to patients who cannot leave home, who act as cultural guides for the most vulnerable groups or those who care for those who live alone. Many ways to help regardless of age to do so.

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