Experts call for economic stimulus and investment in workers…

Madrid, 24 (Europe Press)

Experts see technology and public-private investment as key to guaranteeing the future of the rural world and the dignified aging of its citizens. This was revealed at the 'Older people in a rural world' conference organized by the Spanish Council for Disability and Dependency Protection (CEDTT) and the Alicia y Guillermo Foundation in Madrid.

The initiative brought together experts and professionals from various fields to analyze the challenges rural areas face in guaranteeing a good quality of life for their citizens. Manuel Campo Vidal, a journalist from the town of Camporeales in Huesca, inaugurated the day.

“I am the son of a depopulated Spain,” the professional said at the start of his presentation, in which he stepped out to present his stance against talking about an empty Spain, “because it's demeaning” and noted the aging aspects of the field.

Among other data, there are three provinces in the country with more people over 75 than under 25, “Lugo, Orense and Zamora”, and he reviewed urgent problems such as medical shortages. and banking services in these regions.

According to Campo Vidal, “Aging is a tragedy for many in the rural world and an opportunity for others.” In this regard, the journalist mentioned the demographic challenge and depopulation head of the next education that he will be president, according to a study of the perception of rural Spain, “the first to decrease is medicine. Services and banking”.

Therefore, Campo Vidal proposed to be inspired by good practices carried out in other countries. “In France there is an economic incentive for doctors in rural areas: those who are far from the capital earn more, why shouldn't we take these kinds of measures here,” the spokesperson said. According to him, it is necessary to transform the rural world into a “smart rural area”.

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Before concluding his speech, Campo Vidal mentioned immigration: “I don't like the rejection of Spain when it was a city of immigrants and a solution for many places,” he said.

Likewise, he urged public authorities to address the housing problem as “a necessary condition for rural repopulation.” Finally, he advocated the promotion of a “rural magnifying glass” so that “any legislation adopted is scrutinized with the world in mind.”

The discussion table 'Longevity societies in the rural world' addressed the health situation, aging and the role of women in rural areas, the relevance of household care and the success of social welfare in the depopulated areas of Cantabria.

Precisely, the geroanthropologist Monica Ramos Toro shared the experience of the Los Nieves community center in Campo de Yuso, Cantabria, which “represents a change in the lives of people in the area as they struggle with relational, emotional and existential loneliness.” According to him, “We need to stop studying loneliness and start fighting it. Can do and can be.”

For her part, Carmen Quintanilla, President of the Federation and Associations of Families and Women in Rural Areas (AFAMMER), supported the voice of rural women and highlighted the important role they play in society. “We are not an empty Spain, we are a donor Spain: maintaining society, cultural heritage, mass of forest. We are a Spain that needs to be cared for,” he said. Later, she argued: “It is necessary to bring digital skills to older women so that they do not become illiterates of the 21st century and they do not become incompetent.”

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In her speech, Paula Chao, vice president of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (SEMFYC), highlighted the complexity of rural medicine and the need for initiatives like the Las Nieves Community Center in Cantabria. Reduces hospital admissions. “If the situation in medicine is already complicated, the situation in rural medicine is even more complicated.”

Following him, Mar Aguilera, General Director of Vivofácil Group, highlighted the importance of technology to overcome the lack of doctors in rural areas and shared his experience of technical training for people in rural areas. “Technology is essential to overcome the absence of doctors. People need to be trained in technology. Telecare is a fundamental mechanism to detect loneliness and provide psychosocial support,” he explained.

Communications and Services

In the second table, 'Communications and Services', aspects of sustainable development and dignified aging in rural areas were discussed: the importance of connectivity, public transport, as well as banking services and distribution.

The mayor of Alcazar (Guadalajara), Borja Castro, called for “more investment” in the rural environment. “In villages you are part of more than a community, we are a family and that makes us all look after each other,” he pointed out. In this sense, he told his tablemates about his experience of being without an ATM in his town during the pandemic and asked “what is being done about this to overcome these kinds of deficiencies.”

For her part, Valle Norte de Lozoya Commonwealth President Eva Gallego has highlighted the need for the involvement of regional governments and public and private investments to guarantee the autonomy of rural areas. “Freedom is synonymous with freedom. With the number of citizens, we can never make a profit. Even so, they have to trust us,” he argued.

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José Luis Martínez, spokesman for the Spanish Banking Association (AEB), has defended the commitment of the banking sector during the pandemic, guaranteeing financial services in analog and online formats. “Smaller municipalities are putting themselves on the table,” he assured, and pledged to “solve the ATM issue as soon as possible.”

Immediately, he pointed out: “No one remembers that the banking sector was the only one that had offices open during the epidemic. Banks guarantee access to financial services for everyone who wants analog and online content.”

Likewise, Alberto Aza, spokesman for the Spanish Savings Banks (CECA), highlighted the financial institutions' efforts to digitize all people, including the elderly. “Companies provide services in person, but they are trying to bring digital closer to everyone,” he declared.

Finally, Jose Luis Brito, Director of Marketing and Sales of Avatel Telecom, requested the cooperation of companies to facilitate private investment in all areas, excluding the presence of first and second class cities.

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