Growing Up, Getting Old

By: José W. Cruz

Column

The morning of November 18, 2011, the program “Salud, Alegría, Seguridad… Calidad de Vida en la Edad de Oro” celebrated the activity “Celebrando la edad de Oro, Dando Gracias a Dios todos los días”, taking place in the “Club de Oficinistas” in Mayagüez. The activity was directed to Senior citizens that are 60 years and older.

The activity’s theme was the celebration of “Thanksgiving Day”, were elderly people had the opportunity to reflect about the true meaning of this day and prepare for the Christmas season that is near. On the event also participated Dr. Aida Blasini, an expert on the caring of old people (geriatrician) and internist, and the Puerto Rican artists Efrain López Neris and Luz Maria Rondón actors who interpreted the paper of a married couple “Don Lolo” and ”Doña Lola” respectively.

Puerto Rican artists Efrain López Neris(left) and Luz Maria Rondón(right) actors who interpreted Don Lolo and Doña Lola.

Puerto Rican artists Efrain López Neris(le.

The director of the program, Gloria A. Guzmán gave details of how the program works and what are the services that they provide to the vast amount of grown citizens. The activity’s purpose was to improve the life style of about 100 citizens that are members of the program from communities near Mayagüez.

“The activity offered its service to people from different cities near the city like Yauco, San Sebastián and Aguadilla” the director explained. “Right now the program gives service to about 3,600 active members” Even though the program’s goal is to impact 6,220 residents of 226 buildings of public living across Puerto Rico in about 32 municipalities. It is scarcely a new project that has been working since February of this year.

The participants enjoyed of different workshops: informative booths, hand crafting, home gardening and refreshments activities. Members started the day activity with a superb breakfast. After getting to know themselves they made handcrafted tabletop decorations and where given some information and how-to’s on gardening for small houses. Physical activities like dancing, talks about identity thief and healthy living lifestyles. Closing the day with humorous but reflection done by “Don Lolo and Doña Lola”

Part of the activity given by the program is home gardening. The elderly was taught how to do some planting inside the small houses or apartments.

The program is administered by Juan F. Woodroffe & Associates Inc. located in the Constitution Avenue, suite 320 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He administrates the program after writing an settlement competing against other dealings programs that were directed to the youth. This program is as Juan Woodroffe said “Inspired young people who got passionate about the elderly.”

These seasonal activities are created but this is not the only purpose of the program. The program also give daily meets scattered through the 32 municipalities near to the houses of the elderly and offer health services to them. Some of the topics covered throughout the activities are:

  • Education and technology: where they acquire independence in they life and auto realization feeling.
  • Health programs: this covers physical, emotional and spiritual health of the beneficiary.
  • Culture: it aims the need of socialization and entertainment using, fieldtrips, sports and dancing lessons.
  • Security: Provides safety tips to citizens on how to protect their financial resources, properties and themselves from fraud and identity theft.

One of the beneficiary present in the activity stated, “ I have enjoyed every activity and it has been a life changing experience that brings happiness and it is somewhere where I can take a laugh”. The overall joy experienced by the participants of the activity has been a good indication that the purpose of this has been positive.

Above senior citizens receive an introduction, some motivational talk and handcrafting activities.

The motivations on sponsoring “Calidad de vida en la edad de oro” was the lack of programs that support this group of Puerto Rico’s population. The estimated number given by the Census, the estimated population of 65 years or older citizens as for 2010 was 541,998.

Luz María Rondón actress working for the program said, “It’s giving great outcomes. Being a figure helps facilitate the work of interacting with them and using theater as an educational tool spreading easily the message to them.” Rondón assures that most of the terms and information given by professionals are shown on a more colloquial way during the plays they perform simplifying their learning.

Gloria A. Guzman expressed that most of the hard work on the program is trying to get them to participate of the activity because most of them have medical appointments, feel sick and are hard to convince. Employees of the namely program after the hard work and problems they face still give their best realizing their work.

The elderly not only need economical help but the help and companion of the youngsters, it needs support from all the other side of the society. They need the human love and warm, dedication and acceptance of their decreasing capabilities. This has been the increasing dilemma that the government has faced through decades. Its time to act up against the unfairness and support this side of our society.

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