Since the beginning, the Sant’Egidio Community has wanted to look after the elderly. Our friendship with the elderly began in 1972, when we met our frist elderly friends in he suburbs of Primavalle, Garbatella, and Trastevere in Rome.
Back then we were all young, university or high school students. We did not have a “geriatric” culture nor were we aware that deep transformations were taking place in our society, which in a matter of decades would be referred to as “demographic revolution”. We were attracted to the elderly because they seemed to be extremely ill from solitude and they asked simply company and support. Our Friendship with the elderly has continued faithfully over the years and has helped us to understand more deeply the troubles and hardships of the world through the eyes of the elderly.
Every Sant’Egidio Community from North to South lives out this special love for the elderly; we share their anxiety, their life and their faith. The Elderly are quite special friends to us. Indeed in the Community’s history solidarity with the elderly has been lived out in a considerable way. Our work with the elderly began simply because they were among the poorest in Rome at the time the Community started.
Serving the elderly all these years has given everybody a wealth of experience and sensitivity, which we have used in attempts to build a culture of solidarity and hospitality towards the aged.
Staying close to the elderly, helping and supporting them reawakens in everyone a taste for life, which means not throwing away one’s existence or wasting one’s energy. Rather, it means investing in humanity and solidarity with others. The elderly receive help from those who are younger and support them, but they also give a lot in terms of affection, friendship and meaning to life. It is truly a school of humanity.
We invite you to join us in our service with the elderly. Each week, around all the cities in the United States the members of the Community go and visit local nursing homes.