Compensation bid for pensioners as retirement home closure nears

THE 62 pensioners living at the Marymar Retirement Home in Benalmadena Costa set to close at the end of May are demanding compensation. They want the owner of the property, Obra Social de Unicaja, to pay the difference in price they will have to pay to relocate to other centres in the area, which are generally much more expensive than Marymar.

This was revealed for the lawyer for those affected Silvia Arena who claims each ‘client’ at the home has a signed indefinite contract with the company.

She also explained that the average cost per pensioner at Marymar is around €1,300 a month, which is up to €1,000 cheaper per month than other homes in the area.

Another option being looked at is for the Andalucia Regional Government to pay 75 per cent of the cost via the dependence law grant system.

The latter however, would take time which the pensioners facing ‘eviction’ do not have.

The company has assured residents of Marymar any of them who have not found somewhere to live by May 31 will be relocated to another of their retirement homes.

However, the nearest is in Ronda (100 kilometres away) and the other two the company owns are in Jaen (230 km) and Ciudad Real (300km).

The reason given by the company for the closure is to make necessary improvements to the building which will have to be closed for an assessment to be made.

Critics say the company has no intention of re-opening the retirement home, however. Benalmadena Town Hall has warned it will not grant a licence for any other use. The Town Hall also confirmed no applications have been lodged for building licenses at the property.

Silvia Arena claims that despite numerous meetings with the company, they are yet to produce any documentary evidence to support the need for closure or that the building is in poor condition.

The elderly residents have been holding protests outside the property every Monday for the past three weeks to demand a solution, and say they will continue to do so until an acceptable solution is provided.

When EWN interviewed one of the residents, Alfredo Merino, aged 77, at the beginning of this month he said: “They have no right to throw us out at such short notice. I have no idea where I can go.”

When asked, Marymar director Fernando Muñagorri, refused to comment on the matter.

By John Jackson

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