What is it?
What is this initiative about?
The initiative was born from a long history of closeness with the elderly and the conviction that friendship between a young generation and an old one is possible, even though we had different tastes, cultures and way of expressing ourselves. We could offer them the most precious thing we had: friendship. As friends we could help, understand, listen to and support them.
Helping the elderly remain at home: defeating isolation
This is one of the main goal of our commitment with the elderly. In the large cities, isolation, decline of the average number of household members, are factors that push for institutionalization. Therefore, a relevant aspect of the work of Long Live Elderly is supporting the families of the elderly trough closeness and an assistance network.
Visiting the elderly in a nursing home: helping humanize the life of a large institute
Living in a nursing home often means experiencing isolation and dereliction. The Community of Sant’Egidio is present in hundreds of this nursing homes in Italy, Europe and other continents. Here the members of the Community keep the elderly company, attend to their needs, offer them pastoral care. A friendly and attentive closeness helps the elderly to maintain a social life, it helps them not to lose those relationships that exist outside of the institution and to preserve the integrity of their personalities.
New solutions for living suggested by the Community of Sant’Egidio
There are some elderly who are no longer able to live in their own homes because they are not self-sufficient any more, because they lost their housings, because of poverty. Several projects of co-housing have been realized which gave birth to a manifold model of response to the needs of the elderly: cohabitation, flat share, Family Homes, sheltered housing.
All this is made possible by valuing local assets, such as neighbours, relatives, shopkeepers, etc. for the care of the elderly: it is a way of treasuring local lay communities.
Programme for active monitoring of over 80 years old population
The Programme Long Live Elderly began in Rome in 2004 aimed at reacting to the appalling increase of mortality during the exceptional heatwaves. It is now quite clear that such a mortality, far higher than normal, was due not only to the vulnerability of the elderly people, but also to the social isolation which affects the older part of the population.
A great number of people (neighbours, shopkeepers, caretakers, doctors, pharmacists, voluntary workers) have been involved by creating networks of informal assistance. In the course of time many of the elderly people have become themselves activists of the program. So, the widespread presence at the grassroots level achieved successful results in terms of improvement of old people’s quality of life as well as to build a social network from which the elderly have benefited together with many people who have been voluntarily involved in their care.