Posted May 13, 2004
A Success Story of the San’Eggido Community with the elderly worth reflection
Bringing friendship in the old people’s homes
Savona - Italy
In order to combat isolation and abandonment that often accompanies the hospitalization in a geriatric ward, the Community members provide entertainment, companionship and pastoral care in over 100 institutions throughout Italy, in Europe, and in other continents.
The friendly and constant companionship helps the elderly to maintain constant relations with people outside the institution, and to assure that their physical-psychological integrity is maintained. As a result this presence provides a concrete form of protection of the right of the weaker in society and of social control over the quality of life inside these institutions. In many structures in fact the presence of the Community is the only way they have contact with the outside world. In this sense we exercise continuous monitoring against every form of abuse and maltreatment. The elderly people, and especially the elderly who are not self-sufficient, are victims of discrimination in regards to care and assistance, use of their economic resources and exercise of their fundamental human rights. There are many cases of abuse, omission, violence, maltreatment. Friendship with the elderly becomes also a form of protection and defense of the fundamental rights of the human person. Such protection is also a form of social control that one can exercise in the nursing homes and institutions both public and private who accept the elderly. Such program not only helps assuring the physical-psychological integrity of the residents, but also to give the institutions stimuli so that they may carry out their institutional tasks easier.
Sharing a flat among the elderly is an answer to the housing problem which was set up with the encouragement and support of the Community in many countries of the world. The elderly join their resources, sometimes even modest ones; they are therefore able to avoid hospitalization or institutionalization, to guarantee for themselves the necessary assistance and to continue to live as they desire.
Shared housing is an innovative alternative to institutionalization that also enhances the use of local informal resources such as neighbors, family, etc.
Family home in Largo Magna Grecia - Roma - Italy
In recent years, the Community has established family homes for the elderly in the urban centers of Rome, Genoa and Naples in normal apartment houses that can house up to 30 elderly persons. Even in the city center of Naples a family homes of this type was established.
These family homes represent a response for those elderly that cannot live in their own homes anymore. They represent an alternative to large institutions and they are planned in order to provide a closely-knit community, a family and comfortable environment. The elderly welcomed in these houses are often very poor and/or partially or totally dependent.
Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, diet specialists, members of the Community offer their professional skills and free help and many other people offer their time, in order to meet all the needs involved in the management of these family homes.