In their “Focus On” feature for June the Daughters of Charity describe their counter-cultural efforts on behalf of the elderly.

Currently in Italy, elderly people try to avoid nursing homes because they prefer to stay at home with the help of support staff, sent by public heath or privately hired (nurses and caregivers mostly from Eastern Europe). It used to be more self-sufficient elderly people entered nursing homes and staff organized times of recreation, therapy, rest, etc.

Today the majority of residents in homes are terminally ill or elderly who cannot take care of themselves. They are suffering in their wheelchairs or beds, or suffering from Alzheimer’s and do not realize what is happening in their lives.

We see Christ in them because they are near the end of life, immobilized, or mistreated just because they can no longer think for themselves, and because they were abandoned by all. Elderly persons need support, care, understanding and reassuring relationships but they are often rejected to the margins of society.

Against this dramatic trend of our time, the Daughters of Charity have organized Day Centers where elderly persons can come during the day and return to their homes in the evening. They have also developed a system of home care in order to break the tragedy of loneliness without hope.

Following the teachings of their Founders, the Daughters of Charity try to care for the suffering people with openness, acceptance, listening, proximity, sensitivity in healing the wounds of loneliness, and offering the support to look forward in life with courage. No person is superfluous. God wants all talents to be valued and that diversity contributes to the enrichment of all. We strive to discover new ways to encourage the responsible and active participation of the elderly, because they are part of the life of the community and the Church.

What do you think? Is the situation in Italy different in other countries?

Tags: ,