At the opening of this third and last seminar of 2022, the representative of the Fundació Can Gelabert, Mari Carmen Salinas, announced the more than likely support of this private Catalan institution for one more year of the ¡Adentro! program; decision which was very well received by those present.
On the inside! is a training program aimed at the participation and involvement of elderly emigrants which contributes to the improvement of living conditions and the prevention of dependency of elderly emigrants through the promotion of volunteering and the training of elderly people as as socio-cultural animators.
These quarterly seminars are organized jointly with the Spanish Training Academy, the Confederation of Spanish Associations of Parents in Germany, the German Red Cross and are supported by the private Can Gelabert Foundation, the Training Department of the Catholic Missions of Spain Language in Germany and the Directorate General for Migration, as well as the GeniAL program of the German Olympic Sports Confederation Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund.
Health, focus of several working groups
Health was, one more seminar, one of the common axes of several working groups focused on the importance of weight, the prevention and detection of strokes, and the means of motivating the elderly to take an interest in them, movement and sport. In addition, the usual sessions of gymnastics for the elderly, dance for the elderly and exercises in movement and relaxation were carried out, all under the direction of Eufemio Cascón; and an exercise and yoga group for seniors, led by Teresa Díaz Rivero.
These work sessions, included in the Inter-Aktive60+ project of the Spanish Training Academy, are oriented not only to the sports practice of the participants, but also promote the activation, promotion and expansion of joints, muscles, respiratory tract, bones and balance of the elderly. people, contributing for example to the prevention of falls. Coordination, elasticity and happiness between all practitioners are also worked on.
Daniel Gil led another session during which they performed various exercises that can be done at home, suitable for the elderly and can be done standing or sitting. After reviewing seniors’ motivations for exercise and its health benefits, they also talked about the most interesting activities for seniors such as music, dancing, swimming, movement in the water or cycling, among others.
For his part, the sociologist and gerontologist José María Villar devoted the first of his working groups to discuss overweight and obesity in the elderly. For this, he carried out a small study among the participants, verifying that the group is overweight. In fact, obesity is one of the most common, underestimated, and underdiagnosed diseases among older adults. He reviewed the issues that obesity involves as a determining factor in other diseases and the importance of exercising alongside diet, especially in older people.
Another of the problems addressed by the speaker was stroke, a disease suffered by one in six people over the age of 65, which causes 40% of serious disabilities and causes more than a third of deaths. In a very practical session, he recommended knowing how to quickly identify a stroke and know how to act in the face of this disease, since every 15 minutes that the first medical intervention is delayed increases the risk of disability by 4%. Villar advocated “always put yourself in the worst, for the best to come”.
Cognitive stimulation was the title of another of the groups organized in Vallendar, where Daniel Gil Abascal explained what cognitive functions are, the irrigation of the brain and where the different functions are; and at the same time how to interconnect one with the other. He explained the concept of neural plasticity and its importance in learning and neuropsychological rehabilitation; and what are the different types of memory.
Several of the working groups developed are part of the intention of ¡Adentro! to break taboos around the elderly population and normalize their worries, problems and worries.
Thus, the clinical psychologist Daniel Gil Abascal led a working group dedicated to stories to reflect on death; while psychologist and jurist Mari Carmen Salinas focused another of her workshops on the living will as a means of expressing anticipated wishes regarding medical treatments.
Daniel Gil used four stories of Asturian, Galician, Valencian and Mexican origin featuring death, and how some of its protagonists try to avoid it or deceive it, but with the background that death is inevitable. These stories are a different way of approaching a taboo subject. During the session, participants talked about what death means to each of the participants and their personal experiences with it.
This working group started from the observation that death is part of life and that, generally, the ignorance of what happens after death, the weight of responsibility and the fear of leaving the family abandoned frighten and worry the person. old, older than death itself. Thus, once acquired a certain guarantee of stability and independence vis-à-vis the family, the elderly person feels a release, a state of peace to face his own death.
In this same line of breaking taboos, the lawyer and psychologist Mari Carmen Salinas led a working group on the living will or document of advance directives, or other denominations according to the Autonomous Community that regulates it. This document, different from the common will that we all know of distributing assets after death, allows a person to express in writing beforehand how they wish to act on themselves in the event that they cannot express themselves personally for cause of illness. Salinas explained that “this document helps a lot when making decisions for families and health professionals.”
He recalled that this document must be registered in each country and stressed that for its authentication not only a translation is necessary, but the requirements are similar. For this reason, the possibility of doing it before a notary is the most effective, since it is a recognized figure in Spain and Germany and in both cases it is archived.
The living will, which can be written by an adult or an emancipated minor provided he is free and capable, is not only used to make medical decisions, but also covers what to do with the body, whether it is whether or not it is organ donation, or whether you agree with euthanasia recently legalized in Spain. This last point has generated much debate, for religious and ethical reasons. Although considered a taboo subject, workshop members actively participated and shared their experiences, doubts and fears in this regard.
The “adentrists” gathered in Vallendar were also able to participate in a working group on the use of digital technologies by seniors aimed at reducing the digital divide between them and digital natives.
A last working group on this axis was the one led by José María Villar on the mistreatment of the elderly, an issue that has become topical again during the recent Covid 19 pandemic, since it is estimated that during this period, it increased elder abuse by 84%. In this sense, the group has focused on defining what abuse is, the causes of these attitudes and what groups like Inside can do to deal with it.
Working with groups
A third pillar of the working groups that made up the vast program of this III Interior Seminar of 2022 was the work with the groups.
On the one hand, the program coordinator and president of the Spanish Training Academy, Vicente Risk Alonso, stressed the importance of “knowing your own biography well in order to be a multiplier: you have to know who I am and therefore be able to know what to do. with the elderly”, the basis of the work of the “adentrists”. For this reason, he emphasized the importance of the biographical work that all participants in these seminars must complete the first time they attend one of these quarterly seminars.
Thus, the psychologist and jurist Mari Carmen Salinas led a session on the importance of the communicative skills of the animator to work with groups. He talked about the basic principles of communication, highlighting in particular how non-verbal language (through gestures, expressions, looks, body posture…) and which represents 80% of our communication, can better express our feelings than words. . The skills of the multipliers were exposed and analyzed and the characteristics of the elderly people were reflected with them in order to reach them through adequate communication. Finally, the rules and skills needed to improve these skills were exposed.
In this sense, he advocates an assertive attitude to be able to lead a group, promoting values such as attention and listening, respect, clarity in communication, empathy, authenticity, immediacy and closeness, assertiveness and confrontation skills, among others.
Clinical psychologist Daniel Gil Abascal led a working group dedicated to irritability, and how it affects the daily lives of those who present with it. Focus on their own experiences and how they were resolved, both in the face of their own irritability and that of a third party. The group also discussed strategies to use to deal with their own irritability and violence in the school setting.
Finally, socio-legal adviser José Antonio Haro-Ibáñez led an interesting working group on the German social security issues most relevant to pensioners. This session focused on recent changes to German social security, with a focus on those related to the amount of the pension as of July 1 – the date Germany is reviewing its pensions. This year, the increase was 6.12%. This increase also implies a similar increase in the annual pension insurance contribution, which now amounts to 36.02 euros per year.
In a second term, the new regulations of “minijobs” were reported, jobs with a maximum of 10 hours per week and incomes of up to 520 euros per month since last October 1, the date from which the salary interprofessional minimum was established at 12 euros per hour.
With this in mind, several participants raised multiple misunderstandings about this particular form of employment relationship in which the worker does not pay any income, taxes or social security, except for a fixed amount of 3.6 % of salary to pension insurance. This is particularly important for some foreign workers residing in Germany, as these contribution years can also help them to reach the minimum contribution in other countries, such as 15 years in Spain, for example.
As usual in the last seminar of each year, the Saturday session ended with a lively evening during which almost all the participants displayed some of their talents.