The Costa Blanca: Spain's Florida

Fecha Publicación: 
24 Febrero 2011

Round Town News | Noticia

On Wednesday this week key seminars took place in Alicante under the heading ‘Active and healthy aging in the Comunidad Valenciana’. One speaker, Ricardo Moragas, Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the University of Barcelona, produced statistics showing that in Spain the average life expectancy is between 75 and 82 years of age whilst in the UK and Germany life expectancy is between 74 and 80.

For the elderly who move to Spain from the more Northern European countries, statistics show improvements in health problems like arthritis and patients are very often able to reduce the amount of drugs that they are receiving. “Overall findings evidence much better health is maintained here, rather than in colder countries,” he said.

A greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, fresh vegetables and fish offers substantial protection against Heart disease, Cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and the elderly who relocate to Spain are shown to have a significant improvement in health status. Likewise the climate has significant advantages with moderate levels of sunshine being shown to enhance the immune system, encourage healthy circulation, boost one’s mood, enhance sleep and slow down the aging process.

Attended by senior politicians and healthcare officials from throughout the Valencian region, the aims of the seminars at the Alicante Meliá Hotel were to explore the therapeutic benefits of the Mediterranean climate and diet for the elderly, and to investigate whether European citizens properly know the services available to them and their dependents in the Region.

The President of the Enterprise Association of Residences and Services to Dependent People of the Valencian Community (Aerte), Alberto Giménez, spoke about how the Valencian Community now has all the elements, treatment centres and facilities to transform itself into “The new European version of Florida.”

“Because of the climate, outdoor culture, quality of life and Mediterranean diet which are superior to those experienced in many other European countries and because of recent investment into the public health sector, the Valencian Community is extremely well placed to provide professional healthcare of the very highest order,” he stated.

A wide variety of speakers including Vicente Arqués (Mayor of Alfaz del Pi); Lisette de Leeuw (Managing Director of Anneke Integral Care Services in La Nucia) and Pedro Valero Mazon (Torrevieja Councillor for Foreigners) outlined the range of possibilities opening up for the care of the elderly in both the public and private sector.

“The importance of getting the information about the various healthcare options out there to the public has never been greater,” said Vicente Arqués whose population of 22,000 voters in Alfaz is 50% composed of nationalities other than the Spanish. “In fact” he continued, “there are over 100 different nationalities of voters in Alfaz making up 11,000 persons, the vast majority of whom are British, Dutch and Norwegian.”

Such is the high standard of care therapies now available in our region, the seminars also centred on the ability of foreigners to come to Spain under the ‘Go & Care Programme’ which provides high quality short-term therapeutic stays in approved residences in the Valencian Community. There are already ‘Go and Care’ residences in Castellón, Patacona, Valterna, Teulada, Benidorm, Guadamar and Pilar de la Horadada and with the expansion of Alicante Airport there is the real opportunity for the 30 million elderly in Europe, to ‘jet in and jet out’ for short-term healthcare stays.

Closing the Conference, Angélica Such, the Valencian Regional Manager for Social Welfare, told the audience, “Old age is not equivalent to illness. In old age we need to have relationships, cultural and physical activities. We are focusing on ‘active aging’ and the assistance that we can provide to elderly persons is extremely high quality and much higher than the average level in Spain and in the rest of Europe, and the Regional Government is always available to help you.”


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