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Gibraltar Senior Citizens’ Association newsletter on Confinement

Eyleen Gomez

With the relaxation of some of the measures put in place to ensure confinement and in particular as these affected senior citizens, early in May we wrote to the Chief Minister requesting a programme of physical exercise training for the elderly and the reconsideration where and how some of the current restrictions could be eased.

But even before our letter reached the Chief Minster’s desk, a series of unlocking measures were announced which not only answered some of the items raised by us but some others we did not. We could not have written at the most inappropriate time and on the most inappropriate subjects, our only recourse at this moment in time is to await developments, see how these changes take shape and how they affect seniors in general.

As the immediate future was concerned, we did not foresee it being very bright and cheerful unless of course the measures in place were for the very short term only. We are of course very confident that as with all matters dealing to the pandemic, every restriction or relaxation would be subject to constant review.

It is extremely important, vital indeed that if and when with the right conditions existing, we allow, respect and encourage the elderlies’ independence so they can continue to do their own thing, dependence on others must be only as the last absolutely necessary recourse, as of course, too many personal restrictions invariably lead to increased reliance on others.

The only thing we can say is we must have more patience than that we have already had, let us see how the new “normality” with corresponding restrictions fare and then we shall have to see how best to adapt. We must look after ourselves, especially those 70 and over as we are repeatedly told, but we must at the same time we must be careful not to end up with a generation of zombies; too many restrictions can be bad for the spirit!

And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the care and concern for our senior citizens is there when conditions warrant this. Many will recall that long before the arrival of the Covid virus, we had been campaigning for special attention to seniors who lived alone.

Month after month we kept repeating how much those who unfortunately lived alone would wish for a friendly knock at the door and more likely than not a brief but friendly chat. We specifically asked that family, friends and neighbours took an interest in those who lived a lonely existence. It has taken something as grave and menacing as the pandemic for our request to come true.

Notwithstanding, on the 26th we again wrote to the Chief Minister reference the re installation of benches in Main Street and that charges for parking in Mid Town Car Park should not apply until the busses are available to all seniors including the over 70’s. As shortly as the 28th, we were phoned by a well wisher to inform us that the benches were being reinstalled.

Since being able to meet to talk to some friends and acquaintances, we have learnt of the many acts of kindness from the hundreds of volunteers and professionals who have made the lives of so many lonely people so much more tolerable. Volunteering to deliver food, ready, willing and able for a few minutes chat over the phone, collecting and delivering prescriptions and medicines and so on to mention but some of the jobs undertaken.

Thank you all thousands of times, how do we thank so many individuals and firms, societies and associations by name without unknowingly and unintentionally omitting one or many?
To all without exception thank you very much indeed!

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