Youth ACT Mexico - Estados Group
YOUTH ACT MEXICO – ESTADOS
We are a group of young people from different states of Mexico, who intend to raise awareness about aging and the factors that intervene during this stage, in order to support this vulnerable sector within our country, promote prevention education for quality of the life of the elderly, since it is an issue little attended within our country and to generate an analysis of the situation we are experiencing as a society and the way in which we prepare to face old age.
Older adults are an important part of our society, since they are the basis and guide within families, their experiences enrich our experiences and their wisdom allows us to learn to make better decisions throughout life.
In Mexico, the population aged 60 and over is a socially and economically vulnerable sector, since it is estimated that about 47% live in poverty, and between 20 and 30 percent suffer physical, psychological, economic or abandonment violence […]
Currently, it is estimated that the world population of older adults will double by 2050, showing a less than encouraging picture, since we believe that the population is not fully prepared to face old age, due to the lack of education towards the transition for this stage of life. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to prevention in the quality of life for a satisfactory aging.
Our group is called “Zamná nool”, Mayan words that mean “Wise grandfather”. Currently, as a participant group in Youth Act Mexico – States, we are carrying out phase 1 of the project; This phase refers to the actions to be implemented for the prevention of satisfactory aging, factors to be taken into account for comprehensive care in old age and for their caregivers. For this, we are creating a program aimed at young people, family members, caregivers and people who make up the environment of the elderly, in order to carry it out in different organizations, centers and institutions in the country.
Working with another minority group: "Prevention towards healthy ageing"
By Martínez Diana, Montero Karen Pamela, Servin Miguel, Villacetín Esther.
First and second semester
In February 2021, seven people from three different states of the Mexican Republic (Chiapas, CDMX and Estado de México), began this journey with the aim of carrying out together a project that would have a positive impact on one of the multiple realities present in our country.
We explored different vulnerable populations in search of social transformation, presenting our ideas on what we could work on. Among them was the desire to work with the elderly population, from a sensitizing and orientative aspect, involving their caregivers: “My grandfather in his old age began to lose his memory, I have seen how his life has changed as he has needed support, as has my family, who take care of him. It is difficult sometimes to see that more can’t be done and even worse, that we don’t get any guidance”.
The contribution of opinions and ideas allowed the creation of the group Zamná Nool (“Wise Old Man” in Mayan dialect), as a society of professionals trained in different careers, proposing as an objective to guide the young population, adults (relatives or caregivers) and/or close to older adults, in the factors, actions, events and attitudes focused on contributing to the improvement of the quality of life, favoring a healthy aging in which the appearance of limiting diseases is delayed as much as possible.
This intention has allowed us to visualize an integral, multifactorial programme, based on four areas of action (medical, social, psychological, mental and economic orientation) addressing, in the first instance, the enquiry based on the experience developed by each participant.
Third semester: Participation and decision-making
Given the clarity of the currents and the inspiration obtained from the intercultural dialogues in the meetings or webinars, the third semester began with the delimitation of the contexts of each area due to their wide extension.
Based on the research carried out by each member of the team, it was decided to approach the four axes from an updated perspective, carrying out a bibliographic compilation to provide a current panorama with a view to a medium-term future (10 to 30 years) for older adults. This research showed the lack and poor preparation of our country in all areas, in the face of the inherent progress of time in its populations, aging, the lack of social, economic, medical and assistance instances that notably affect the inclusion, participation, community development and adequate quality of life of older adults. All these conclusions are highlighted at the international level, with the warning from bodies such as the UN and the WHO in 2020, in relation to the decade (2020-2030) dedicated to healthy aging.
However, countries’ resistance to healthcare was put to the test by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, impacting our societies in general and in particular, overshadowing the implementation of actions to raise awareness among our populations.
By limiting interaction with the population due to social isolation, and in view of the evaluation of the current environment, it was decided to opt for an informative and orientative prevention manual for the sake of healthy aging, being a material that could be developed with the possibilities allowed during
Fourth Semester: Dissemination of the Semester and participation of minorities
The challenge posed at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 was the development of material for open dissemination and how to bring it closer to the populations. We began to establish links and social interactions through social networks (facebook, instagram), where we began to disseminate materials to publicize the research findings in the four areas, in order to attract interest. “Having an exchange aimed at inclusion through an intergenerational dialogue” This awareness-raising gained perspective from the encounter between minorities, which culminated in the implementation of a health fair in the village of San Juan de las Huertas, Zinacantepec, State of Mexico, with the voluntary support of young people and two health professionals.
The health fair was held by adapting activities from the four areas contained in the manual in the form of reflective, interactive and playful workshops, in order not only to capture the attention of the attendees, but also to transfer the knowledge of these areas in an experiential way.
The response of the population was positive, although low. In the volunteers, it was the empathy generated by the situations experienced with their elderly relatives and the desire to make a difference in the people of the community that drove these workshops.
The implementation of the workshop and the limited partnership with publishers made it difficult to publish the manual that had been developed, so bringing it out was a challenge. Subsequent exchanges led us to consider the creation of a website: “Let’s take care of our future selves”
https://www.miyodelfuturoyouthact.org/ where this content is available to all interested parties, and a dissemination campaign was developed for its launch.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Lessons learned
This project has provided me with multiple learnings from a personal perspective. Also professionally, by broadening the understanding of the environment through the openness to intergenerational knowledge exchange, which enriches our knowledge of society, its changes and the consequences on the environment.
This is also seen in the intercultural dialogues, which offer the opportunity to understand how different approaches to solving a community problem are feasible, which will inspire and help us to be generators of change.
The beginning of the learning starts from a concrete moment of dialogue, which facilitated the meeting of people from different backgrounds with similar interests to act for the benefit of others.
The conjunction of our desires made us find a possibility of action, which inspired us and allowed us to interact and intervene, seeking the benefits of older adults by touching our sensitivity, seeing their reality and vulnerability in their old age.
This desire made us transcend the adverse moments, the barriers of distance and the eventualities of life changes, adapting our way of communicating to continue and prosper the project, being sensitive and receptive to the adaptations resulting from the pandemic to act in the most appropriate way to achieve these benefits.
The challenges of the projects are many, difficult and sometimes demotivating, demanding even more than the members can give, but such a challenge is relentless in the face of the desire and commitment to benefit the change in the lives of older people, motivating and inspiring the fact of moving forward, finding oneself at every moment with the objective of helping others.
A process that provided the necessary space to promote change based on the ideas of people with similar intentions to improve reality. Dialogue was the way to reach a consensus built from the contributions of the members, offering the opportunity to be heard, even if not always your idea was the line to be carried out.
The important thing is the development of projects based on the objectives, managing human and material resources in person and remotely. Collaborative networking was the axis that made possible the execution from the meeting of the members, the planning and implementation of the different moments required to meet the proposed goals.
The existing mechanisms in our country generate the guidelines for intervention in any field. For our part, the possibility of joining forces from each of our disciplines strengthens and offers credibility to the importance and value of teamwork, allowing us to understand the different points of view on the same subject. From this interaction, we were able to develop and promote a project that aims to benefit a minority, such as the elderly, but a minority of great value for our traditions, our identity, and certainly for our families. With the injection of youth, which through this great team that is in various parts of the world, has allowed us to underpin our dreams of living in a country with better living conditions for all Mexicans.