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Senior Citizens’ Association discontinues its newsletters

The Gibraltar Senior Citizens’ Association has decided to discontinue its monthly newsletters as they feel their calls for the needs of senior citizens remain largely unanswered.

In the last of their monthly newsletters the Association said they have been “unable to convince government of the needs of senior citizens.”

The Association details that, for years, they have called on government to revise policies and procedures affecting the senior population to little avail.

The calls include a more accessible place for senior citizens to pay their government rents as the current premises in New Harbours “is the most senior unfriendly place in Gibraltar.”

“The then minster for Housing was adamant that rents should be paid at the Housing department’s offices,” the Association said.

“Now that the same minister heads the GHA etc., patients suffering from incontinence must collect their special wear at New Harbours instead of St. Bernard’s Hospital as before.”

The Association also highlighted issues seniors have with computer literacy which means online banking to pay rents and utilities is difficult.

“For the past 21 years we have been striving to improve and enhance the quality of life [of] seniors in Gibraltar and with all humility we can say that we have not done too badly,” the Association said.

“We have not been able to achieve everything, but yes indeed a fair number.”

“In our favour is the fact that some of us are nearing 90 years of age, and if we at that age don’t know what seniors need, then nobody does. And again, we have been lucky in that a number who we call friends of the association keep us informed of issues we may not have noticed or experienced ourselves.”

But the Association also acknowledged the government had implemented some swift changes.

They thanked the Minister for Transport Vijay Daryanani for raising seats at some bus stops so that the elderly could sit comfortably.

THE NEWSLETTER IN FULL

After much thought, the committee has thought it practical and advisable to discontinue the monthly newsletters and instead produce and publish one if and when we have something positive to say or some comment which would be appropriate at the time. For the last ever so many months, if not years practically all we have been able to say is how we have been unable to convince government of the “needs” of senior citizens.
For the last 7 years or so, we have been continuously reminding whoever has been the incumbent minister for traffic of the need of topping points for mobility with the result we all know too well.
We are not going to refer back to records, but be must be months if not years that we have been requesting that other premises be made available for seniors to pay their rents, not because of a whim, but because New Harbours is the most senior unfriendly place in Gibraltar. The then minster for Housing was adamant that rents should be paid at the Housing department’s offices. Now that the same minister heads the GHA etc., patients suffering from incontinence must collect their special wear at New Harbours instead of St. Bernard’s Hospital as before. At the very beginning of the inoculations at the ICC, we congratulated the minister for a job well done and at the same time included a suggestion by a married couple who both suffer mobility issues which as we said in our mail would have meant the icing and cherry on the cake . We are sorry to say we have not had a reply or an acknowledgement of receipt nor mention of our congratulations.
When Minister Linares took over the Ministry for Housing, we met with him to discuss the New Harbours problem and again we are sorry to say that the elderly, those who for some reason or other do not pay by direct debit, have to pay at New Harbours. This meeting took place nearly a year ago. Naturally, the day will come, as happened with illiteracy, when the then senior citizens will have no problems with computers, direct debits and whatever new advances technology brings us, but today there are many seniors who “need” the more basic services and do not have a clue on what is demanded of them.
We had a request by e-mail reference the benches along Irish Town and how they disappeared much to the annoyance of the couple he was requesting on behalf of. This request explained that without these benches, an elderly couple could not shop at Irish Town as they needed regular stops to rest and the benches were an absolute necessity. We immediately wrote to Minister Cortes and up the time of writing this newsletter, no reply has been received.
And by contrast something positive from a Government Minister. Months back we requested Minister Dryanani to raise the seats at the bus stops as these were far too low for comfort. To our surprise and delight a sample was produced within days and we are asked to test. On the 19th of April to our surprise we saw that the height of another bench was being seen to, we now hope that all benches needing modification will receive similar treatment. We now know that the benches at Market Place, Albert Risso, Europort Avenue by GASA and Gib 5 plus Waterport Road will be modified. Thank you Mr Daryanani and the team at Technical Services.
For the past 21 years we have been striving to improve and enhance the quality of life seniors in Gibraltar and with all humility we can say that we have not done too badly. We have not been able to achieve everything, but yes indeed a fair number. In our favour is the fact that some of us are nearing 90 years of age, and if we at that age don’t know what seniors NEED, then nobody does. And again, we have been lucky in that a number who we call friends of the association keep us informed of issues we may not have noticed or experienced ourselves.
And naturally, not wishing to end on a negative note, we have had too many of these in too short a time, we are pleased to inform that with the easing of restrictions, we are looking forward to the Tea for Two parties and the Seniors’ Jazz Night hopefully sometime in June. Be on the lookout or further news in the media and let us hope and pray that by then another small dose of normality has been added to our daily lives.
So this is not goodbye, at least not yet, we hope that in the not too distant future we have something worth publishing, so until then, take care, look after ourselves and optimistically ,see you soon.

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