[WATCH] Senior citizens take to Facebook for summer heat awareness campaign

Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing Justyne Caruana launches summer awareness campaign with Facebook photo contest for senior citizens

Senior citizens take to Facebook for summer heat awareness campaign

A new summer awareness campaign this year comes with a twist: a Facebook photo competition open to people over 60 years of age, calling on senior citizens to post a photo of themselves protecting themselves from the effects of the sun and heat.

Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing Justyne Caruana, together with the Elderly and Community Care Department, launched the campaign with director Silvio Camilleri at the Hamrun elderly day centre.

“The competition combines what the senior citizens have learned at the day centres about protecting themselves, as well as other subjects, such as their IT sessions,” Caruana said.

The winner of the competition will be selected according to the number of likes his or her photo has gained and will receive a new tablet.

Caruana also described the significance of such an initiative.

“Senior citizens make up one-fourth of the population, which is a big deal. This initiative is there to empower the elderly by showcasing how they can contribute to and be an active part of society,” she said, adding that this initiative was a precursor to others.

Camilleri commented on the department’s hard work to improve elderly centres and the benefits of this year’s campaign.

“This year, the campaign is there to create awareness about the dangers of sun and heat exposure, but also to put into practice what the senior citizens have learned during their IT sessions,” he said. “These centres should provide something that the senior citizens can take home with them."

MaltaToday asked the senior citizens about what they do to protect themselves from the heat.

Joseph Formosa told the newspaper that he found the information given to them very useful to him, explaining what was taught to him.

“One should always protect themselves when they go out in the sun. An umbrella is a good idea but it is impractical and others will find it funny, so one can at least wear a hat or a cap,” he said.

“At the beach one should always put on some sunblock, and cover themselves with a towel and try to find a shady corner.”

Annie Formosa said that she tries to fight the heat by drinking water as often as she can.

The same goes for Rita Zammit who said she “drink[s] all the time”

Saviour Buhagiar took it one step further by outlining a series of measures he takes to beat the heat when he’s at home.

“I drink a lot of water and I sit by the fan, and normally don’t wear a shirt.”

Friends Jane Bilocca and Maria Doublet lamented over the heat in summer, which they say is only getting worse each year.

“I’ve never known summer to be this bad, never in my 78 years,” Doublet said.

Bilocca explained how she protects her skin when going outside.

“I put on sunblock before I go out shopping in the morning,” she said.

Doublet was perhaps the most innovative with her approach.

“I wash the floor so it’s nice and cold, then walk around barefoot,” she said. “And when it’s really unbearable I take a shower,” she added.

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