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The Movement "Long Live the Elderly"



From years of experience of the service to the elderly of the Community of Sant'Egidio, the “Long Live the Elderly” movement started in 1998 and to date has 10,000 members. The Movement is a proposal to those, elderly and non-elderly, who wish to live their old age as an opportunity for themselves and for others. The elderly, today more than yesterday, are growing in numbers in contemporary society. They can contribute to determining changes in the current way of conceiving life, to thinking about and facing old age. They can help us to discover and to value the gift of the longevity. The Movement therefore is engaged in giving elderly people the possibility of a long, productive and serene life. The elderly of the Movement are engaged in evangelisation and the prayer, in socially useful jobs, in experiences of voluntary service and service to the others. 

The “letters” of the “Long Live the Elderly” movement

The Movement has promoted many initiatives, in particular the collection of signatures for the "'Maria’s Letter'. In order not to be institutionalised as an elderly person and to stay in one’s own home." There have already been more than 500,000 signatures throughout Europe.

"Anna’s Letter"  is aimed at favouring voluntary service towards the elderly as opposed to institutionalising them. The initiative, which followed it is called "an hour of time" and has involved the energies and availabilities of many elderly and non-elderly who want to make themselves useful responding to the requests for company from many elderly people who are alone.

The solidarity of the elderly

The elderly represent an important human and social resource . In Italy more than 600 over-65’s are involved in service to those in difficulty. In Germany and Belgium too, many elderly have started a services to help people in difficulty.

Some groups are involved in the preparing the meals that are distributed in the evenings to the homeless.

Other initiatives of solidarity involving the elderly are the collections of food, clothes, medicines, etc. These collections are then sent to the centres of the Community of Sant'Egidio for those most in need or are sent to the poorest countries. (Albania, Sudan, etc.).

Moreover, the elderly promote of charity sales to raise money for initiatives of solidarity. Others write to prisoners in isolation and those with no family.

The International Conference
"My hope will never fail"


In Rome on 5 May 2000 the International Conference of the Long Live the Elderly Movement was held. More than 2000 delegates from many countries of the world took part, in order to say at the beginning of the new Millennium: " I do not stop hoping " (Ps 70.14), that is, that life is not over, that death is not stronger than love, that the elderly have confidence for the future. This commitment to hope has been summarised in a Card of intentions in which elderly choose to communicate to everyone that :


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