THE POVERTY OF THE ELDERLY
In Trastevere and in the suburbs of Rome the elderly we met were often alone and abandoned.
In the 70’s and 80’s, the elderly often had a story of suffering behind them. From their collective stories a Rome ill with poverty and solitude emerged: due to the expulsion from the historical centre, turnovers, and confinement in suburbs during Fascism. For these elderly, the war, represents a focal point as the tragedy of their lives. And then there was the hard life after the war, the illusion of youth, the love stories, the stories of solitude, widowry. They are stories of generations that lived to respond to essential needs- stories of emigration to find work, stories of finding housing after years of living in shacks, stories of how they were not able to cure illnesses because of limited means, stories that are never known by the consumer world. But these stories are not only those of elderly in Rome, but of many elderly in every part of the world who have lived through the twentieth century.
In these elderly, often sick and marked by the signs of fatigue, a great willpower to live has also emerged. A question then arose: for whom and for what should I live ? This is the drama of the elderly person who feels “old” and surpassed, put aside, often not respected, or ignored even by those who live close by.
Thirty years of solidarity with the elderly today allow us to reply to these questions: “For whom do I exist ? Who cares for me ?” Helping the elderly through the difficult times in their lives is like giving them back a meaning to their existence, and a reason to live starting from the conviction that life always represents a value. It has been a story of closeness that has changed our mentality and that of the environment surrounding the elderly.