The “Long live the elderly” movement was born on 18 October 1998, at the threshold of the UN International Year of the Elderly. It is an aggregation of elderly and non-elderly who, in the spirit of the Community of Sant'Egidio, have decided to put their energies to the service of peace and solidarity. They are elderly who serenely live the pride of their age, on the one hand accepting its limits and, on the other hand, being convinced of the resources which old age brings with it. The Movement, which has already spread throughout Europe, but also in other continents, already has more than 10,000 members.
The elderly, apart from their numbers which are growing throughout the world, have many human, spiritual, and cultural energies to put to the service of all. From this knowledge, a new sense of responsibility is born that makes the elderly protagonists of this proposal.
Longevity apart from being an index of civilisation and a conquest for all mankind, represents an opportunity to be used. Whoever is old today, apart from enjoying a long life expectancy, has time to use, has experience and energy to put to the service of others. The elderly can contribute to the realisation of a more human world.
The Movement says that the old ones are not burdened by their age, that they still have many things to say and do.
It is therefore a proposal to those elderly and non-elderly who wish to live their age as an occasion for a new commitment, firstly overcoming the sense of uselessness and resignation. One often has much time on one’s hands that if used generously can be the origin of abundant and unexpected fruits for oneself and for others. Some years ago, for example, on the initiative of some elderly people, who asked themselves about the way of resolving concrete problems connected with increasing old age, the campaign for "Maria’s letter: not to be institutionalised as an elderly person". was started. This initiative involved thousands of elderly people and continues to bring agreement and signatures.
The old age has many virtues, like every other age, we must recognise them, develop them and communicate them. The affective, moral and religious values lived by the elderly are an indispensable resource for a balanced society, families and people. The elderly can best express the superiority of being over having and doing, in a society in which life is dominated by haste, by agitation, by nervous anxiety. In a life which often forgets the fundamental questions about vocation, the dignity, and the destiny of the man, old age is like a time of meditation and clarity.
The elderly can bring back to a consumerist, gratuity, dedication, company, welcome and the respect for the weak. Also the stories that are kept by the elderly represent a value that is not only personal, but for all civil society. The conscience of evil represented by war, as an example, an indelible mark in the memories of the elderly is a heritage for all, above all for those who risk considering wars as just an exciting game. The elderly person who uses their time to help the others, gives a service to themselves, becoming a subject of their own life. Thus they contradict the widespread cliché of the lonely old person, filled with regrets.