Active aging in Corpaci, Edinet rayon| 02.12.2021
Eugenia Jelihovschi (76 y.o.) from Corpaci, Edinet rayon is member of local Senior Group “Romantica”. She is truly passionate about healthy eating and herbs. “The secret of longevity is in natural products and healthy food. My passion to discover and promote these appeared when my children left parental home and I began to live alone. My children are already independent, they do not want to bother me with their worries and needs. They use to tell me “Mom, your whole life you took care of us and Dad, but now, please take care of yourself, just think of yourself.” My daughter taught me to use internet, how to use Google, Youtube and social media. At the beginning I could hardly manage these, then I wrote in a notebook what should I do, step by step, and now it is well imprinted in my memory, and I can find what I need.”
Eugenia was born in Nicoreni, Riscani rayon. She met her husband when she started to work as a teacher in Bratuleni, Ungheni rayon. They both had kids from the previous marriage – Eugenia a boy and her husband – two girls. When Eugenia was pregnant, they thought of moving because there was no regular transport in the village, also during rainy days it was hard to get out of the village, this getting much more challenging with having a baby. They moved to Draguseni, Nisporeni rayon where they lived for 2 years. As they had no relatives in this village and spend the holidays alone, the family decided to move to Eugenia’s husband native place in Edinet rayon. So they moved to Corpaci village in 1969. “I live here already 52 years. This is a human life…”, mentions Eugenia.
Eugenia worked as a teacher of Romanian and French languages. Together with her husband, they build a house, leaving their little children with their grandmother. “We started to build the house and we needed money. And I went to work immediately after I gave birth. We were young and we were not afraid of difficulties”.
Eugenia’s husband died 20 years ago because of diabetes. That’s when she quit the job. At that time, she was ill, having high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and hepatitis C. But she succeeded to treat them and get well. “I started to take care more of myself, to eat healthy and timely. I coped with many of my affections without going to the doctor, only with various herbs and natural recipes.” This is how her passion for herbs was born. She read a lot about this field, and when she learned to use the internet, Eugenia kept improving her knowledge on it.
When the kids grow up, they went to work abroad, the daughter in Greece and son in Germany. She also has two grandchildren who live abroad. “All the Europe is mine”, says Eugenia with a sad smile, thinking about the fact that she has to live alone. Children invited her to live with them, but she refused.
In 2018 Eugenia came to the meetings of the Senior Group that was created in the village. She used to organize health lessons for seniors and other people about the herbs and their benefits for wellbeing.
The Senior Group “Romantica” was set up in 2017 at the initiative of 6 active elderly women. From the beginning, people were gathering to organize and spend their free time, socializing on topics of common interest. Gradually, the members of the group realized that besides spending time together, they could do something else. Thus, they decided to support and help the vulnerable elderly in their community, contributing to their inclusion in civic and social life of the village. “I spent a lot of time in the group. I participated in various activities, as like the other members I wanted to help older people who are sadder than us.”
Thus, over time, the group members organized and participated in several community activities like socializing evenings, round tables, focus groups discussions, health lessons. They continue to visit vulnerable people living alone and communicating with them, bringing them hot meals, water, helping them in self-care, supporting them to overcome loneliness and the risks of social isolation. The group is actively involved in the decision-making process at the local level. The members participate at the meetings of the Local Council, identify community issues and discuss them with the authorities. Through various trainings organized by NGO „CASMED”, they learned how to mobilize people in the community and raise funds. With the resources collected, they provided material aid and food packages for vulnerable people and contributed to the construction of ramps and access bars to public institutions in the locality.
There are currently 25 members in the Senior Group – women and men aged between 65 and 82 years. Before the pandemic, the members of the group met twice a week and implemented the activities according to their action plan. Given the COVID-19 situation, the group had to face several challenges. The first was the impossibility to meet due to the restrictions and the increased risk of infection, the members being in the risk group. The communication was done mostly on the phone. When the locality was under the red code, the members of the group, like other people in the community, were extremely afraid of becoming contaminated. Some members of the group went through the unpleasant experience of COVID-19, one member of the group died because of complications. However, during this period the members maintained the communication by telephone. Some members learned to use social networks, this helping them to communicate with children and other people in the group, but also with members of other senior groups. Although they did not have the opportunity to carry out mass activities as they did before the pandemic, they continued to support each other and the vulnerable elderly in their locality as well.
“I feel good in the group and the kids support me”, Eugenia says. “Pandemic, thanks God, didn’t affect me. I keep strengthening my immune system and fight off diseases with herbs, teas, lettuce leaves. I respect the protection measures against COVID infection. And I am optimistic – that means a lot. I am sure that everything will be fine”.