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Vatican calling for a rethinking of elder care, with innovations so people can stay home


Tania Kolinko | Shutterstock

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 02/09/21

Grandparents are a key part of the family and the future.

Two Vatican offices – the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Dicastery for Integral Human Development – released on February 9 a document that calls for a rethinking of elder care, and proposes new models of care so that families can have support in caring for their elderly and people are encouraged to stay in their own homes.

“Old age: our future. The elderly after the pandemic”is an 11-page document that proposes the concept of a healthcare “continuum” in which the individual person can be taken care of by a care system where the family is supported by new and innovative integrated models of care: home assistance, “neighborhood” health personnel, new models of family homes and cohabitation, and services provided at home to encourage people to stay in their own homes.

While recognizing that retirement or nursing homes have met a real need, and even that some of these are religious-led institutions that are supporting families, the councils called for starting a “frank and serious debate on the effectiveness and feasibility of new reception models.”

A renewed attention towards the elderly and their relationship with grandchildren and new generations, to which Pope Francis calls everyone, must lead to a rethinking of the care of every man and woman who receives the gift of the blessing of a long life. It is not good to detach children and young people from constant contact with their parents and grandparents. As Pope Francis said on Sunday, January 31, announcing the institution of the World Grandparents and Elders Day, “grandparents are often forgotten and we forget this wealth of preserving the roots and transmitting them.” … A society that produces the “throwaway culture” needs the prophecy of the Church which, in its wisdom, points to the path of communion and closeness with successive generations, so that no one remains alone or is abandoned and so that those who are young learn that frailty is a talent and a wealth.


Read more:
Elderly parents of adult children with disabilities: The Valencia archdiocese wants to help

Read more:
5 things my young kids are learning from their elderly grandma

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