Who says senior citizens are not active?
Here’s from one senior citizen to another: Remain active.
Paul Castaneda, 69, and member of the Sto. Rosario Senior Citizens Association in Brgy. Rosario, Duran, Iloilo City advised his fellow senior citizens to continue being active.
While those in their twilight years are already experiencing body pains and other ailments, he said that the best remedy to forget about these is through smiling and laughing.
“As a senior citizen, I feel better when I smile and laugh. I’m also used to hard work since I was young, so it’s the same until now. I clean the floors at home and then cook meals for my family,” he said.
He added that he also does carpentry work and laundry.
He’s also an artist, being good at lettering and drawing.
“I was the official decorator of our office for 20 years during gatherings when I was working with WG &A,” he reminisced.
“So, if you’re able, exercise and work. Keep yourself busy,” he said.
“Also, whatever comes, accept but not to the point that you will have regrets. Stand by what you believe in. And be God-fearing,” he said.
NEVER A DULL MOMENT. There’s a never a dull moment in being a senior citizen, said Evelyn Eguia, 66 years old, a retired court social worker.
She retired in November 2011 after 42 years of serving the government through handling adoption cases and giving guidance to children in conflict with the law.
She is the president of the Senior Citizens Association of Alta Tierra.
Promoting initiatives that could aid the elderly keeps her busy.
“Just recently, we opened the jogging and walking trail for senior citizens in our village. It’s located at the open space around the covered gym. This way, the elderly can exercise without the dogs chasing after them as they are already too slow to run away,” she said.
The project was financed through donations from the village’s elderly and supported by the homeowners’ association.
“Every year, we have social activities. Never a dull moment as a senior citizen,” she said.
|Delfin Punzalan and Evelyn Eguia|
Meanwhile, Delfin Punzalan, 67 years old, is the officer of the Federation of Senior Citizens of Iloilo and a member of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city.
“We are active in helping the elderly with their needs, even if we don’t get a salary,” he said.
“We also attend seminars related to senior citizens, and know our privileges and benefits. The city government attend to our needs,” he said.
He also fondly talked about his stint as a tour guide under the project of the Iloilo City Tourism Development Office.
“Tour guiding was enjoyable. Our knowledge increased due to the seminars, we got to interact with the foreigners and share our history, culture and heritage to them,” he said.
Castaneda, Eguia and Punzalan are three of the 10 senior citizens who were hired by SM City Iloilo to work four hours every weekend under its SM Cares project.
“We are also thankful to SM City Iloilo for hiring us, as part of their commitment to help senior citizens. We get paid P160 for four hours work. This is the first time that SM hired senior citizens. Although we are pensioners, the pension is not enough and there has been no increase for many years now. So the work in SM has helped,” Punzalan said.
You can find them greeting shoppers at the mall’s entrance, food court and cinema.
“It’s very entertaining. I’m so fascinated greeting people and they also enjoy that we greet them. If you talk to them, they have many stories to tell. When you greet them, they feel complimented,” Eguia said.
After talking to an elderly shopper, Eguia said, “They are happy to be given attention. At home, sometimes, nobody asks them how they are.”
SENIOR CARE CENTER
Meanwhile, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that the city will soon have a senior care center.
“If there’s a day care center for kids, we will also have a senior care center,” he told the Iloilo media.
“I am looking forward to the building of this center where senior citizens can socialize to strengthen them to cope with their fear and improve their relations with their family and society,” Eguia said.
Punzalan suggested that such center be placed in every barangay and if possible, it would be the senior citizens who will manage the place since they are receptive to what the elderly needs.
Meanwhile, Eguia added she hopes that those who will be hired for the center are social workers who are competent in handling the elderly in relation to themselves, their family and their community.*/Marie Katherine Villalon