Defiant residents remain at the Marymar retirement home in Benalmadena

FOUR defiant residents remain at the Marymar retirement home in Benalmadena. All are women in wheelchairs and one is hooked up to an oxygen tank 24-hour a day.

The more than 70 elderly residents of the home were told on April 8 that they had leave by May 31 for urgent repair work to be carried out at the property.

In July, Unicaja sent the remaining residents a letter telling them they had to leave in 10-days. As they did not leave, Unicaja denounced them and they must now attend a court hearing on November 24.

“The 15M movement is behind us and they will be protesting on our behalf outside the courthouse,” Rafael Santiago, the son of one of the remaining residents, told EWN.

His 84-year-old mother, Dolores Martin, has been at the retirement home for three years and was “very happy,” but in the “past few months her health has deteriorated”.

A skeleton-staff is still at the residence to look after those still remaining.

“There is a nurse, auxiliary 24-hours, cook, cleaner and a security guard, who makes sure that nobody goes into the residential home, which is chained up, only children of those remaining,” said Mr Santiago, 55, who owns a small real estate sales and rental business in Benalmadena.

“It is like they are in prison.” The families of the four remaining women intend to fight for what they believe they are due.

“We only ask that Unicaja pay the difference between what we were paying at Marymar and the cost of a residence nearby, not in Ronda, where they want to send us,” said Mr Santiago. 

“The difference is nearly €1,000 and while Unicaja says they will pay the difference for five months, we want assurance that they will continue to pay for the rest of my mother’s life or until we can come back after the reforms.

I cannot afford it otherwise.” Last month, the fifth last remaining resident left – the father of the spokesperson for the families against the closure of the residential home – who has gone to a residential home in Torrequebrada.

”I have a document from Unicaja that says they will pay the difference, which is more than  €500, but it is only valid for five months, after that I will have to pay the difference,” Sonia Martinez told EWN.

“They told me that we could return once the place has been reformed, but I do not believe there are going to be any renovation work.”

Thirty were moved to other homes, mostly to Torrequebrada and Torre del Mar and Unicaja reached an agreement with other homes in the province and will pay the difference for five months, until ‘financial aid is approved by the regional government’.

Relatives of those remaining said they had a “lifelong contract” and will only go if forced out by law.

One of their defence lawyers has said it is possible that the work may not even go ahead. Unicaja responded that “the future of the building has still not been decided.” At the beginning of July eight residents remained and the end of August five.

EWN Exclusive By Nicole Hallett

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