An estimated 55 million people worldwide are affected by dementia. In 60% of cases, it is Alzheimer’s. In Italy, there are more than 1 million, 600,000 of them with this disease. World Alzheimer’s Day, which is celebrated tomorrow, 21 September, is an opportune occasion to address the issue. Indeed, research and proposals for care solutions, and respite services, are increasingly necessary for sufferers and their families.
Today, the solutions offered by the social and health services all too often lead to the isolation of the sick, because they remove them from ‘everyone’s’ life, in places designed just for them, be they institutions, rest homes, or villages. In any case, ghettos, albeit ‘gilded’ in some cases.
In recent years, those already insufficient public facilities, such as the daycare centers that had allowed families to keep their relatives at home, despite poor home care, have also been reduced.
But the top priority must be home help, also supporting family members with adequate services that avoid the trauma of separation.
The policies of the countries must take charge of this problem so that a significant proportion of its citizens are no longer forced to live in discomfort and fear of the future. Indeed, we are convinced that a society that takes care of the weakest is a stronger and more humane society for all.
On Wednesday 21 September the Community of Sant’Egidio will be present in the streets and squares of Rome with some information and promotional points, to talk to the elderly and their families, to illustrate proposals, to listen to problems, and share them. All the elderly will be offered a gadget as a sign of friendship and support.