In the last two years, requests have increased by nearly 10% and today 231 people benefit from this solidarity service
Unwanted loneliness is one of the fundamental axes that the Red Cross has set for itself in its contribution to society. Through two programs -‘Enrédate’ and ‘Always Accompanied’-, the humanitarian institution currently meets the demand for company of 231 elderly people in the municipality of Murcia. A service whose requests have increased in the last two years by about 10 percent.
This is the case of María Izquierdo, a 69-year-old woman who lives with her only son in the Carmen neighborhood. Although she is not alone, she yearned to be able to relate to someone outside of her small family circle. «My son Eugenio has a churros stand and spends a lot of time away from home for his business. A year ago the social worker told us that we had this service available and I signed up looking for a person with whom I could talk and entertain myself”, says this woman who has worked in the field for much of her life and who has health problems. back that make some days not feel well to leave your home.
“I have a great time with her and I’m looking forward to Saturday to see us all week,” says María of her volunteer
María defines the appearance of the volunteer assigned to her in September of last year by the Red Cross as “a ray of light in my life.” And never better said, because her name is Luz Amparo Acevedo, a 45-year-old Colombian who has been living in Murcia since 2000 and who gives Maria part of her time, “the most valuable thing we have,” says this woman who “I wanted to help the elderly”, aware of how badly they had it during the Covid pandemic, “especially those who have barely been able to leave home”. “My family is very far away and being with María is for me a way of returning the love that my mother receives from her surroundings in Colombia,” she explains.
Luz Amparo and María meet every Saturday. “I go to her house to pick her up and we usually go for a walk and have a drink in a nearby cafeteria while we catch up on everyday things, as I would with my mother or with any of my friends,” details the Red Cross volunteer.
For María, Luz Amparo has become part of her family in the ten months they have been in the relationship. «She is very cheerful and always has a topic of conversation. I have a great time with her and I’m looking forward to Saturday to see us all week. I call her my ‘influencer’ », she highlights with a laugh.
María Izquierdo and Luz Amparo Acevedo, on a terrace in Murcia. /
A feeling that his son Eugenio corroborates. “At home we name her a lot. They send messages daily and have a very nice relationship that they have forged in a short time. She is a wonderful woman and I am very grateful for everything she is doing for my mother », he reveals.
Thanks that Luz Amparo also shows towards María, since it is “a reciprocal accompaniment and she has many details with me”. «Social work in my family is something intrinsic. We have always been there where we are needed », says the volunteer, who is part of the team of thirteen people with whom she has the program ‘Enrédate’, which was launched six years ago in Murcia.
«When we talk about loneliness in this project we refer to the involuntary one, the one that is not chosen, the one suffered by people who feel lonely. It is not about absence as such, but about emotional loneliness, the painful feeling that many of our elders experience, ”says Marisa Gómez, director of the Elderly, Disability and Telecare of the Red Cross in the Region of Murcia.
“Due to the nature of the needs it covers, it is one of the Red Cross continuity projects that has seen its implementation in the Region reinforced, both in the number of localities and in the variety of interventions to be carried out, with its activities being the most demanded”, said Gómez. “Those over 65 who live unaccompanied or feel alone, without family support, with long periods in hospitals, residential centers or at home can be part of this program, which would not be possible without the involvement of volunteers,” he recalled.
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