CARING FOR THE ELDERLY OF IBIZA
Texto: Cat Weisweiller
Sally Kennedy, president of Age Concern Ibiza & Formentera, has dedicated the last 18 years of her life to caring for the island’s elderly. IbiCASA met up with this formidable lady to learn more about her work.
“My desire to help the elderly is not attached to any fear of growing old myself. My affinity with older people in fact started in childhood – their inherent wisdom always transfixing me. It saddens me that people get to a certain age and nobody seems to care any more. There is something about older people’s vulnerability that has always struck a heavy chord with me, so I just respectfully do all that I can to help.”
Sally, now herself 70, moved to the island in 1968 at the tender age of 25. She met her late husband, Pepe, in 1970, and as a result has one son, Marc, and three grandchildren on whom she dotes. She worked as secretary to the owner of a major tourism company from her arrival until eleven years ago. In between times, in 1994, British Consul, Jeremy Batey, approached her to become president of the existing Elderly People’s Welfare committee. Soon after, in 1997, Age Concern Ibiza & Formentera was officially constituted – with Sally able to concentrate her efforts on the charity full-time when she retired in 2001. Across Spain, there are now 7, soon to be 9, such affiliated organisations.
Although some of the original Ibiza committee members still remain, the others have moved on through retirement. The need for new blood is therefore becoming paramount to continuing the organisation’s invaluable work: offering multilingual support in the form of accompanied doctor visits, transport, help with residencia applications and other legal paperwork and, wherever possible, financial support for individuals struggling with medical and utilities bills – not to mention contributing to associated schemes visiting/supporting the elderly. Their ever expanding support network also includes supplying wheelchairs, walking frames and other vital equipment, along with offering phone support “signposting” people to where they can get the help they need. Age Concern’s ethos has remained consistent over the years: “To help older people remain in their homes as long as possible, and improve the quality of life for them wherever we can, with the invaluable help of our volunteers.”
They are urgently seeking both funding and, more importantly, volunteers willing to offer a little of their time; including bilingual (Spanish/English) people with transport, people able to assist with marketing (something that Sally admits they presently have too little manpower and funding to concentrate on) and those available to do some part-time hands-off administrative work from home. Sally is also philosophical about the future, “I’m no spring chicken myself! So I’m tentatively looking for someone to train and eventually hand the baton over to.” Age Concern’s priority is to continue to try and assist older people of all nationalities and creeds – and as the largest registered charity operating in this field on Ibiza, securing continued (may increased) funding and manpower is understandably their principal concern.
As an exemplary example of the kind of generosity on which they rely, Prefabricated Garden Houses have very kindly donated a wooden garden house (valued at €3000) for the Age Concern 2012 Christmas raffle – an annual event that significantly fuels their funding pot; something which still falls tragically below their actual outgoings. Tickets are €5 each, and the option of selling the garden house on is included for any winner with too little space to accommodate it.
After humbling time spent with such a generous spirit, I walked away armed with a bundle of Age Concern’s raffle posters to distribute, plus a nagging feeling that if a few people stepped forward to contribute in the same small way, or even just to buy a raffle ticket, a collective boost to a very deserving cause could quickly ripple across the island.
To donate, offer your time, or purchase raffle tickets, please contact Sally:
Tel. 690 144 587 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Raffle tickets can also be found at:
White Island Corner Shop (Santa Eulalia) - Thomas Green’s (San Antonio) - The Terrace (Cala Llonga)