73-year-old teacher is the new MICARE’s Expert by Experience

Blanca Figueroa has joined the team to contribute with her experience to the Institutes research, and above all, to work for the defense and promotion of older peoples rights.

“It is a great learning opportunity for me because I have always felt the need to learn and to teach”, says Blanca Figueroa about what it means to become an Expert by Experience at the Millenium Institute for Care Research MICARE.

She worked for 38 years as a teacher in Santiago, before taking anticipated retirement in 2008 after trying to juggle her job and her caring responsibilities for over a decade.

Her husband’s health deteriorated progressively due to several chronic illnesses. “He needed permanent care and when I was on a psychiatric sick leave, my daughter told me: ‘You must retire mum because you can’t keep working’”, says Blanca.

Now, in her new role at the Millenium Institute MICARE, she wants to use her experience to help older people to have a voice in the work done by the centre. 

The dynamic spirit, energy, and social commitment of Blanca has driven her along the years to volunteer first at a children’s residence in Melipilla and later at a Women’s House in Quintero. Currently, she is co-founder and president of the Ñuñoa Parkinson Club, a disease she has lived with for the past five years.

One of the things that she likes the most about her new role is to be able to live up to her public service vocation. Her goal, she says, is “to represent the older people community, to make their needs, wishes and achievements visible. To be a voice for older people, who as long as they know their rights will have access to a better life. To build community, to create networks with social associations and organisations, that will allow us to resolve challenges and to contribute to society”.