The general condition of our elderly people, is often one of suffering. Not so much for the critical health conditions related to age which are inevitable, but rather for that feeling of uncertainty and anxiety, which mostly always generates from loneliness, when one feels alienated and forgotten by one’s own children, relatives and friends; in short, that feeling of not being useful to anyone any longer.
This is why not excluding the elderly from our social fabric, involving them actively and not just for window- dressing, interacting with daily life, should be at the basis of all relationships between productive- and -ageing society. The elderly have much to say and so much to do, but they do need a special fuel: love. Just like any child if not even more. The disappointments in life in fact, may have increased a sense of despair which is the first symptom of depression that leads to immobility.
The elderly have the right to live with their family, breathe the love that only a home can give; the old-aged are irreplaceable within the household and their presence is essential to all other family-members. A delicate balance which stands out ages away from the dynamics of old-age homes. Life is made up of personal routine habits, which cannot be imposed by rules; it is made up of choices which may change at the last minute, it is not a fixed menu. It is also made of passing whims and time devoted to others. All seemingly impossible things which can only be done within a real family- the ‘natural’ family rather than an acquired one. This could and should be the first step in a cultural change reference towards the elderly.
Besides, news-stories do often give accounts of systems that ill-function in the treatments of the elderly: moreover, statistics are demonstrating a prevalence of ‘horror’ cases developing in non-family environments. Dismissing them as pure coincidence means not wanting to see which would be the correct path to undertake.
“How many times”, – the Pope has said-“have the elderly been discarded bearing attitudes of abandonment that turns out to be a real and proper euthanasia … the elderly are discarded with the presumption of maintaining a balanced economic system, placing money as their god at the centre of things: we are all called to counteract this venemous culture of waste, all Christians with all people of good will have been called to build a more humane, patient and ‘inclusive’ society “.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati