The saying that death and taxes are two certainties in life is one that we regularly hear on the Costa Blanca but perhaps the addition of old age and residential care to the phrase should also be considered for ‘the definitive book of quotes’ the next time that a rewrite comes around.
With that in mind and not knowing too much about residential care homes here in the local area, and also being of a certain age, I thought it was time that I found out. As such I recently took advantage of an invitation from Beatriz Lara, the Senior Social Worker at Casaverde Homes, to visit the centre in Pilar de la Horadada, where I was pleasantly surprised.
Although I met Beatriz in Pilar the group operates two further homes in Almoradi and Guardamar del Segura, all areas that stand out for the wonderful climate and the beauty of the local surrounds.
Care for the elderly has been undergoing monumental change in recent years. Diminishing fast are the geriatric hospitals and wards of the past, whilst increasing apace are specialist residential care and nursing homes.
Casaverde is one such group where health, quality of life and peace of mind matter most. All have 24/7 nursing assistance, daily care and multidisciplinary treatment, provided by a team of neuropsychologists, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
There are regular leisure activities, cognitive stimulation, reading rehabilitation, baking, gardening, dancing, music therapy, laughter therapy, relaxation classes…a whole range of activities to meet the needs of residents.
As well as the nursing home there are also 24 sheltered apartments on site with their own entrance alongside the main building. All apartments have a telephone and occupants are also provided with alarm buttons for assistance that is available within seconds.
I was surprised to find that over 40% of those in the centre are English speaking expats, many of who originate from the UK. Coincidentally I bumped into one couple from Shrewsbury who are staying in a sheltered apartment and who couldn’t speak highly enough about the care they receive.
As the social worker responsible for the expat community Beatrix was keen to tell me about her team of 30 staff that provide social care services in the privacy of your own home.
Although Casaverde Homes is a private concern Beatrix explained that a lot of her time is spent with expats, explaining the intricacies of the ‘Spanish Welfare System’ to them. She helps with form filling and the processing of the paperwork as a result of which many of her clients are able to transfer the financial obligation to the Spanish State.
Beatrix also provides support and advice to the many expat charities that help with welfare guidance and assistance and I know that she is in regular contact with The Royal British Legion, a charity dear to my own heart.
In fact tomorrow, Tuesday, along with a number of other local groups and professionals, including Age Concern, HELP Vega Baja, HELP at Home CB, the RBL, Alicante’s British Consul, Sarah- Jane Morris, Beatrix and her Casaverde Foundation will be hosting a Workshop for local charities entitled “Working Together for better care” in which speakers will share their common experiences in navigating the Spanish system of Social Care and Support.
So as many of us here in Spain approach the time in our lives when such care could become necessary the lesson here would appear to be ‘talk to the people who are in the know’. ‘Find out about the Social Care Services that are available to all expat residents and make sure that you sign up to them now before it all becomes too late.’