Helping the elderly remain at home: defeating isolation
This is one of the main goal of our commitment with the elderly. In the big cities, isolation, reduction of the average number of the households members, increasing rents cost are factors which contribute to remove elderly people from their homes, particularly when a situation occurs. Institutionalization seems sometimes the only possible and reasonable solution. But, in most cases, this is a settlement that disrespect the real wishes of the elderly. They suffer separation from their family environment, from the things and the memories which are in their homes. Therefore a relevant aspect of the work of the Community is supporting the families of the elderly because they are often ill-equipped and disoriented in front of a disease or a condition of non self-sufficiency of one of their aged members.
Visiting the elderly in a home: helping humanize the life of a large institute
Living in an old people’s home often means experiencing isolation and dereliction. There are no more reason to live. One’s relatives are far away. One endures depersonalization. In nursing home or old people’s home, in the same health conditions, there are four times the odds of dying than at home. The Community of Sant’Egidio is present in hundreds homes in Italy, Europe and other continents, bearing the elderly company, attending them, giving them pastoral care. A friendly and attentive closeness helps the elderly to keep a social life, not to lose relationships out of the rest home and to preserve the integrity of their personalities. The presence of the Community is also an incitement and a proposal to the institutions themselves so they can fulfill their task in a better way.
New solutions for living suggested by the Community of Sant’Egidio
There are some elderly who are no longer able to live in their homes because they are not self-sufficient any more, because they lost their accommodations, because of poverty or family conflicts. In order to reduce the number of admissions in large old people’s homes, alternative solutions have been implemented. Several projects of co-housing have been realized which gave birth to a manifold model of response to the needs of the elderly: cohabitation, flat share, Family Homes, sheltered housing.
Elderly who live together: Sant’Egidio co-housing
A number of elderly live together all over the world thanks to the encouragement and the support of the Community. They have joined their financial resources, sometimes very poor, and managed to avoid institutionalization: they get the required assistance and keep on living the way they wish. Cohabitation is a real alternative to institutionalization. Besides It makes the most of the local assets, like neighbors, relatives, shopkeepers, etc., in order to watch over the elderly.
Shelter housing and Family Home
The shelter housing of Sant’Egidio consists of blocks of little flats (40-60 square meters) for one or two persons, meant for self-sufficient yet vulnerable elderly (evicted, homeless, lacking in relations or so). The guests can enjoy shared services and support for their needs provided by or with the cooperation of the Community. This way they can remain at home and in a secure environment.
The Family Home is meant for not entirely self-sufficient elderly who lack adequate accommodation, incomes or relations therefore they cannot survive on their own. They can found a familiar environment in the constant company of members of the Community. The rooms are furnished like at home. The guests are encouraged to bring their furniture with them. Absence of architectural barriers and many aids for daily living help them non to lose their autonomy.