‘Casa Gerontológica’ of the Brazilian Air Force is a leader in old age care
By Dialogo December 29, 2013
The Brazilian Air Force’s geriatric home, ‘Casa Gerontológica de Aeronáutica Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes (CGABEG)’, is in its 29th year of operation and has become a center of national and international reference for elderly care.
Located on a hill on Governor’s Island in Rio de Janeiro, the aeronautic care center is a pioneer in the Brazilian Armed Forces. It serves approximately 180 senior citizens, all military or dependents, of which 130 are residents and 50 are participants of the ‘Centro de Convivencia’ (Community Living Center) of the CGABEG, which they may participate in from the age of 60.
“This center is my reason for living today,” said Walter Chaves da Rocha. “I come in the morning, I take my blood pressure, participate in events here, gymnastics, stretching, even the choir, which is great for me.”
In the institution’s choir, the deep voice of Chaves da Rocha is a counterpoint, whereas in festivities, his joy stands out.
The CGABEG offers gerontological and geriatric care and regular programs to exercise memory, as well as other programs that help participants maintain strong family and social ties and even find a new love interest. All of this contributes to their mental and physical health.
The assistance model that the geriatric home has adopted is based on multidisciplinary work in health promotion for the elderly that has become a benchmark for care in the country.
“All of us are going to grow old in one way or another,” said Norma Landrino, aging specialist and music therapist. “I prefer to age well.”
For example, using musical language and elements like rhythm, melody, harmony and the musicality of words as therapeutic tools, the music therapy group seeks to establish mental and motor functions to improve quality of life through prevention, rehabilitation or treatment.
“All of these therapeutic areas aim to promote health in the elderly,” said Col. Antonio Carlos de Melo, Physician and Director of ‘Casa Gerontológica’. “They are activities for therapeutic purposes. A range of ailments are aggravated by old age.”
‘La Casa Gerontológica’ is funded by resources from the Air Force and monthly payments from users. The institution, which has an Ethics and Research Committee, works in partnership with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and offers places for medical residency in geriatrics, in addition to training for caregivers and technical professionals in the area of aging services.
“In 2008, I underwent surgery to remove a melanoma on my scalp, and I had the pleasant opportunity of getting to know CGABEG, built next to the big Air Force hospital,” said Benedito José Do Espirito Santo, 66, about his experience at ‘Casa Gerontológica’. “I was impressed with the organization at ‘Casa’. No one can say ‘I won’t drink this water’. Nevertheless, if I had to drink that water, I am sure that my thirst would be greatly quenched. Congratulations to the officers, graduates, and civilians who devote their lives so that CGABEG runs smoothly.”
All important dates of the year and holidays are observed and celebrated at ‘Casa Gerontológica’. On December 17, the elderly depicted Christmas scenes in a great display of costume and character.
The social assistant, Eneida, not only narrated the story of the birth of baby Jesus, but also in writing the piece, she carefully cited the various activities offered to the elderly in 2013, including ‘la Danza Senior’ (the Senior Dance), which delighted the audience.
Finally, ‘la Casa Gerontológica’ is especially committed to the integration of the elderly into society in general, as well as educating the community in the treatment of senior citizens. The institution hosts a variety of courses, seminars and other education and information sessions to disseminate existing benefits for seniors as well as the most up-to-date information on treatments.
For example, in August this year, ‘la Casa Gerontológica’ carried out the 17th Training Course for Companions and Family Members in the treatment of the elderly, which was taught by renowned specialists in the field.
I would really like to get to know the place. I receive a pension from the Brazilian Air Force, and I need a place like this. Thank you. I would like to know more about the geriatric home, Casa GerontolÃ³gica. On October 22, there will be a symposium by the Society of Gerontology, and one of the topics is elderly care in the Armed Forces. If you want to participate, contact Rubens de Lucas - CMG(CD-RM1), President of the Brazilian Academy of Military Dentistry (ABOMI).