Tuesday, 6 February 2024
On 11 February, Ivy Rhodes will mark her 103rd birthday, which makes her the oldest person among the entire foreign community residing in Benalmádena. However, this is not the only thing that distinguishes this British woman, who explains that at the threshold of this milestone birthday, she feels “exactly the same as she does at 102”.
Ivy claims that she is well enough to be able to continue living alone and comply with her weekly routine, which basically consists of enjoying life to the full. On Mondays, she meets with members of Age Concern; on Tuesdays, with members of the Tuesday Club; and during the rest of the week, along with eating at the same restaurant each day, Ivy meets with the numerous friends she has made in the municipality since moving to the Costa del Sol town more than 40 years ago.
The sprightly pensioner explains that the secret of reaching 103 in such good condition is not solely the Costa del Sol's sunny climate or her close friends, but a few of life’s little luxuries.
“I'm this good because I like whisky and milk chocolate: that's the secret. I had a friend who always said that I was the easiest person to buy a gift for, because she simply went to the supermarket to buy chocolate - problem solved,” Ivy said,” laughing.
After one of her friends who had bought an apartment in Benalmádena invited Ivy to spend a holiday with her, she fell in love with the municipality and bought a home here.
On Monday (5 February), Ivy, who, until her retirement, worked as an administrator for Columbia Pictures, received a special tribute from the local branch of Age Concern, a British non-profit association that has been operating in Benalmádena for six years, and for around a decade along other parts of the Costa del Sol. The association is well-known for helping English-speaking senior citizens, offering help and support with bureaucratic procedures, with translations, transport to the doctor and hospital appointments, and, above all, creating a meeting place to alleviate loneliness.
The Benalmádena branch of the organisation, which has around 70 members, meets in Plaza Bonanza every Monday morning. This week's meeting was special, because it was used to celebrate Ivy's birthday. Along with a collection of her close friends, she also received a surprise visit from the town’s mayor, Juan Antonio Lara, and foreign residents councillor, Presi Aguilera, both of whom wished Ivy a very happy birthday.
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