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Formentera offers €12,000 in aid for seniors' and people with disabilities

Foto gent granThe Formentera Council's Office of Social Welfare has announced today that it will give €12,000 in aid to the elderly and individuals with disabilities in 2016. Among other requirements, grant applicants must reside in Formentera and either be more than 65 years old or have a disability determined to be 33% or higher.

Anyone interested in applying for the assistance can obtain more information through the Office of Social Welfare. The application period ends May 30. An advisory committee with be tasked with choosing which projects will be given money. Last year 15 people received money under the plan, to a total tune of €10,185.

Social welfare staff take a walk in seniors' shoes

Foto vestit edat avancadaThe Formentera Council Office of Social Welfare has scheduled a number of day-long training sessions for elderly-care staff of the department and of the Formentera Day Centre to enhance the workers' ability to empathise with their clients' daily reality. CiF councillor of social welfare Vanessa Parellada visited the centre, where the sessions will be held, to describe details of the initiative.

The training began yesterday and continues through today in the form of theory- and practise-based classes, during which the workers will have the opportunity to don a suit that limits their perception of sight, sound, touch and motion, putting them – explained the CiF councillor – “in the shoes of someone between 70 and 85 years old.” Parellada called the classes “a great opportunity for our own staff to better understand the situation faced by our island's elderly” and hoped the experience improved the service workers are able to give.

The course, which was held for the first time this February in Menorca, was led by Stephan Biel, a specialist in social gerontology. The idea for the advanced age simulating suit came from Volkswagen. The German automaker developed the suits in an effort to make its manufacturing process more suitable for ageing workers. Use of the suits has since caught on among elderly-care organisations as a training tool for staff. Organisation of the training sessions cost the Formentera Council 1,500 euros.

Formentera to issue remarks re: tax on tourist rentals

Foto votacio pleThe Formentera Council convened its April plenary session today. Members of the plenary unanimously passed a measure to share comments with the Govern Balear on a proposed change to the law regulating the tourist accommodation tax law and various measures concerning sustainable tourism. Land management councillor Alejandra Ferrer explained that the law, in its current form, “doesn't yet include all of the Council's remarks.”

Ferrer indicated that the comments adopted today in plenary reflect a desire for the local island councils to play a more important role in sustainable tourism committees. The task of the committees is to pick which projects will move ahead and receive funding. If no changes are made, she said, the law will give local councils only minimal representation. Though the law purports to give members of “regional” groups a say in the process, there is no guarantee of representation on an island-by-island basis. Ferrer says she supports the tax, but insists it must be adapted to the needs and particulars of Formentera. Nevertheless, Ferrer did point out that some improvements had been secured during parliamentary review of the measure thanks to the intervention of Formentera's representative in parliament, Diputada Sílvia Tur.

Tougher fines

Plenary members also gave unanimous support for an initial proposal to modify a municipal ordinance on waste collection and street cleaning. Environment councillor Daisee Aguilera reported that “infractions and antisocial behaviour by companies and private citizens” were behind a decision to assign heavier fines. As it stands, the ordinance establishes fines of €1-€750 for minor offences, €751-€1,500 for serious ones and €1,501-€3,000 for infractions considered very serious. The newly adopted text not only creates a new class of even more serious infractions, it also establishes stiffer fines for the infractions already on the books: €150-€900, €900-45,000 and €45,000-€1,750,000, respectively.

“We hope that the changes serve to discourage offenders,” said the councillor. A proposed municipal inspection team would be tasked with enforcing the ordinance. What is more, the decision has been made to hire an outreach person to raise local awareness this summer and “help keep the island clean,” added Aguilera.

Members also voted “yes” on a proposal to seek exemption from the central government's royal decree (known as the “sun tax”) regulating 0km energy. As for one trade-related measure, plenary members unanimously supported a campaign to boost business activity in the winter.

Social welfare and human resources councillor gives account of department activity

Vanessa Parellada, CiF councillor of social welfare and human resources, gave plenary attendees an account of her offices' recent work, highlighting first and foremost what she called an underlying guiding principle: “striving to provide the people of Formentera with fair access to healthcare resources”. She also emphasised the importance of a high level of quality of life for those members of island's population with disabilities and the elderly. Finally, she identified residents with mental disabilities as the latest on the list of priorities for caregiving at the Formentera Day Centre.

One of the tasks to be dealt with, proclaimed the councillor, is increasing the day centre's capacity. Eventually, Parellada's goal is for the centre to provide Formentera seniors with care that is truly comprehensive. She also homed in on protecting youth from risky behaviour as a prime concern.

The need to improve the situation of youth was an overarching theme in Parellada's presentation, though in terms of human resources she also underscored the importance of securing equality and guaranteeing the full integration of all residents. The councillor closed by thanking the employees of her department for their hard work and continued efforts.

Formentera Day Centre turns five

Foto aniversari centre diaThe Formentera Council Office of Social Welfare is pleased to celebrate five years of operations at the island's day centre. More than a hundred people took part in the various events commemorating the Formentera Day Centre's fifth year. Local group Aires Formenterencs took on the task of providing music for the celebration, where users, families and friends were all welcome.

After the concert, guests were treated to drinks and hors-d'oeuvres prepared by students of the cooking and restaurant programme at Marc Ferrer secondary school. Celebratory activities will carry on Wednesday April 27, as the hall of ceremonies in the day centre hosts the opening of an exhibition of old Formentera photos, Fotos antigues de Formentera: Ses Salines. The exhibit is part of the bank la Caixa's initiative for the elderly, programa 3.0. On Thursday April 28, organisers have scheduled a talk about Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia and, on Friday April 29, the week-long celebration will wind down with an open-house day of activities for the centre's users and their family members.

Next week, Day Centre turns five

presentacio aniversari centre del diaThe Formentera Council (CiF) Office of Social Welfare has announced the activities that from April 25-29 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Formentera Day Centre's opening. On Monday organisers have put together an orelletes workshop where participants will come away knowing how to make a favourite in Balearic homes and kitchens. The celebration starts in earnest on Tuesday April 26, with an open house event for residents to get to know the Day Centre from the inside. At 12 noon the Aires Formenterencs will take to the stage and provide music for the birthday celebration. Later, the students of the IES Marc Ferrer cooking and restaurant staff training programme will prepare drinks and hors-d'oeuvres.

The activities continue on Wednesday April 27 when an exhibition of old Formentera snapshots has its opening event. Fotos antigues de Formentera: Ses Salines is part of la Caixa's initiative for seniors, programa 3.0. On Thursday April 28, an info session/colloquium has been organised to educate the public about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Friday April 29, a day full of activities has been planned for users of the Day Centre and their families. Earlier today social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada and Marta Uriarte, director of the Formentera Day Centre, led a presentation in the centre's conference room with details about the week-long celebration.

Taking it to the community

Councillor Parellada congratulated staff of the centre on five years of hard work, during which time the Formentera Day Centre has taken on an increasingly important role. “Now is a time for expansion,” said Parellada, indicating the goal of “bringing the centre within the reach of the entire community.” “What we want people to understand,” she continued, “is that the elderly here at the centre still have so much to give to the community.” She underscored activities with local school children which are organised to that end. Parellada also spoke about those at the centre with disabilities and said the goal is “to highlight their abilities and promote their day-to-day independent living”. The Council is currently in talks with the Govern Balear's ministry of social affairs to create places at the Formentera Day Centre for patients with mental health issues.

Maria Uriarte reported that there are currently 19 individuals in the centre's elderly group and 11 in the group for persons with disabilities. Sixteen staff members work to provide care for the users. “When someone new comes to the centre,” she explained, “first, we conduct a general assessment. Then, the attention we provide starts with basic health needs, and it goes on to cover everything from psychology, physiotherapy, diet and nutrition, cognitive stimulation and occupational therapy — a necessity for all users.” The centre is authorised to provide service for up to 60 individuals. In addition, there is a transport service available to bring users to and from the centre. The facilities of the Formentera Day Centre are open Monday through Friday, 8.00am to 5.00pm.

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