Some of those who come here complain, for example, that there is no bar (closed before the COVID crisis), that it is not possible to play petanque outdoors or that they have to queue to the outdoors to enter any of the classes. And it is that, according to habitual of this center, the teachers go to the door of the center and call the registered ones for, for example, gymnastics, English or memorization classes. The reason is that the number of people in the classroom is still very limited. Thus, for example, in principle for gymnastics the figure of six assistants should not be exceeded.
“Everything is empty,” says Fina, a user of this center who regrets that everything is so “soulless.”
A few days ago a sign was placed on the fence of the center, right at the main entrance, where older people are invited to make an appointment with the podiatrist (7.5 euros), hairdresser or barber (5 euros) via mobile using QR code, something that many of the regulars or do not know what it is or do not master. It is also true that, failing that, you are invited to request an appointment through the web or by calling a phone number.
“We have been for more than a year that we are not allowed to enter almost absolutely nothing,” denounces José Asencio López, a former member of the CEAM governing council, a body that by the way no longer exists, according to the affected party.
In what used to be the old Pensioner’s Home, you can’t read newspapers or books either. The choir has disappeared and yoga has become very limited. Yes, the memory classes continue to work and also those of English, although in this case of 12 it has been passed to a limitation of six students. Although the creation of a new CEAM has been announced, at the moment this is the only one available for a municipality of 230,000 inhabitants. Of course, users feel safe with respect to the pandemic, since in addition to cross ventilation there are air purifiers and temperature measurement.
“Now I am not happy with CEAM. They don’t let us play dominoes, or cards, nor are there any outdoor activities, “says Octavio Soler, another” beneficiary “of this center located between the Candalix car park and the Paseo de la Estación.
The anger of these elders from Elche rises one more notch after ensuring that while in Elche they are forgotten, in the Pío XII senior center they are allowing many more services.
In spite of everything, the CEAM announces that it offers courses on music and emotions, mobile phone handling, soft gymnastics, literacy, painting, rhythms, self-esteem, cinema-forum … Of course, the capacity to the rooms is reduced to be able to guarantee a distance minimum of two meters.
Faced with these complaints, the Ministry affirms that the CEAM of Elche “is one of the most active” in the Valencian Community. In fact, work is being done so that they can double the hours of annual activities that they have programmed, and which are currently 2,500, but it must be taken into account that there is a health regulation derived from the pandemic that is applicable in all scopes “, add the same sources.
With respect to the comparison with other CEAMs, the one in Elche, according to the Ministry, has smaller dimensions than the one in Alicante and in order to comply with the safety distances, the activities must be carried out with smaller groups. “In any case it is not true that the activity is practically paralyzed. The City Council has offered a place to expand activities, but users have rejected it, “they add.
The petanque groups are going to start shortly and the four-month workshops have already been convened. “As they tell us, there is no QR code to request podiatry and hairdressing services, but it is done by prior appointment” and as for the bar, “a report from the INVASSAT-Valencian Institute of Safety and Health at Work is awaiting – In this regard on security issues, since the hotel industry is governed by its own rules, “they add from the aforementioned Ministry.
“It’s unfortunate, this is wasted,” concludes in any case José Asencio, who remembers how bad they had before the previous person in charge, Eva Sánchez, arrived and how well they felt cared for and loved during the four years of this. After his departure, say several users consulted at the door of the center, the CEAM has once again declined.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.