THE four remaining elderly women from the Marymar retirement home in Benalmadena are ‘delighted’ over their ‘victory’ against the owners of the property.
They have won their nine month battle to stay at a home in the same municipality – just a 5 minute drive away – without having to pay more than they were at Marymar.
One of the options originally given to the women was to be relocated to Ronda.
The four women have now moved to their new home, SAR Torrequebrada, which they and their families selected out of five other options in the area.
In June 2011, Marymar was due to be closed by owners Unicaja Obra Social, but 30 of the 72 residents refused to leave on the grounds that their contract with the bank was they could stay at the home ‘for life’, according to their lawyer Maria del Rio.
The company’s reason given for closing Marymar was that the installations needed to be repaired as they posed a safety risk to residents.
Negotiations opened behind closed doors with each family and by July only eight residents remained. The eight then became four as the other families accepted the company’s offers, and one resident died.
The four remaining women refused to budge, earning them the title ‘defiant four’, so Unicaja filed a court case against them in a bid to have them forced out.
They stood their ground and demanded that they be allowed to move to a home close to their families and that Unicaja pay the difference in costs.
However, the residents won the first two pre-trial cases, allowing them to stay at the home until the main trial. Last month Unicaja approached them through their lawyer and negotiated terms.
“Part of the agreement is that we are not allowed to tell the press what the terms of the agreement are,” said Paco Tejon, son of 87-year-old resident Maria Jimenez.
He said they came to a satisfactory agreement and are happy with their “win”.
After their victory was announced the four families got together to celebrate with a dinner and cava.
“It is has been nine months since this ordeal started so we could say we have given birth to this victory,” said Paco’s brother Fernando.
“It feels good to know that four elderly women were able to beat a big national company like Unicaja and we were right to stand up to them and fight for our rights.”
The four ladies say they are ‘very happy’ they have been able to stay together and are enjoying the new retirement home.
“I am happy to still be with my friends and it is nice to be around other people again,” said Ana Cordoba, the most talkative of the ‘defiant four’.
“There are even more activities here than there were at Marymar.”
“We can now watch movies, do exercises in the gym and listen to interesting talks every morning.”
Photo credit: James Yeadon
EWN Exclusive by Nicole Hallett