Life in elderly homes is often a sad and hard reality. It’s difficult for many of us to imagine ourselves in the situation where death is not that far away. I spent almost one week, visiting Enclos Saint Cesair, a catholic elderly home in Arles, everyday. As in the majority of retreat houses, loneliness and emptiness are impregnated in the ambiance. The silence is present during many hours of the day, as many of them, suffering from Alzheimer, have difficulties keeping conversation. Many life stories are kept under this silence, making a lively presence very distressful. In an elderly home the mere fact of having a hair cut can be an event, as is having lunch or feeding the birds. Passing time matters, as the time of life is suddenly so short that any extended project has no reason to be.
This is the reality for many families and older people and an issue that needs more awareness. The ageing of the world population is increasing very fast, affecting almost all countries and implicating significant political and social challenges. According to the UNFPA Ageing Report (October 2012) by 2050, 33 countries are expected to have 10 million people aged 60 or over, including five countries with more than 50 million older people. An attentive social regard on human condition at older ages is important to develop the right precautions in health systems and changes on economic directions.