The elderly men and women of Nicoya are world-renowned for their longevity. There are even studies that credit happiness as the source of their enviable health, but not all of the elderly live in good conditions. There are those who suffer from maltreatment, abandon or other kinds of abuse.
With the goal of fighting for protection and providing good living conditions for the elderly, the Pro-Elderly Association (Asociacin pro Adulto Mayor) was formed in Nicoya thanks to the initiative of a group of neighbors from Nicoya. Members include Floribeth Grijalba, Pedro Lopez, Wilberth Villegas and Maria Felix Obando, among others.
The association was formed on March 5, 2014, to look after seniors’ basic necessities, including physical, emotional and spiritual attention, maltreatment and abandonment issues, as well as ensuring that existing laws protecting them are enforced.
The association will promote fundraising through social events as well as grants from government institutions.
The association facilitates the organization of the elderly in communities throughout the canton, establishing leaders to hold weekly meetings to share food, do exercise and enjoy recreational activities, among other things.
According to Pedro Gomez, vice president of the association, they are organized on a community level to be closer to the needs of the senior citizens. “Through different groups that we have in each community, we are reaching those people who are isolated to offer them help,” he said.
For her part, Floribeth Grijalba, a member of the association, explained that they are planning to create a center where the elderly receive help and participate in activities.
“We are in conversations with the mayor (Marco Jimenez), who has committed to assigning us a lot to build a senior care center, to obtain funding and to be able to finance the project,” explained Grijalba.
The association has the support of a variety of institutions, among them the Municipality of Nicoya, the Mixed Institute for Social Assistance (IMAS –Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social) and the State Distance University (UNED – Universidad Estatal A Distancia) in Nicoya.
Maria Felix Obando, director of UNED, was pleased to be able to support the project. “[I am] very happy to ensure a better quality of living for them. In October we will be organizing a fair in which we will have all kinds of activities. The idea is for them to participate,” said Obando.