Vatican City, Feb 9, 2021 / 04:35 am
The Vatican called on Tuesday for a rethinking of elder care in a document arguing that the elderly are best cared for in an environment more like a family home than a hospital.
The Pontifical Academy for Life published the 6,000-word document Feb. 9 on the need to improve social and pastoral care for the elderly, particularly after the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic on retirement homes across the world.
"During the first wave of the pandemic, a considerable part of the deaths from COVID-19 occurred in institutions for the elderly, places that should have protected the 'most fragile part of society' and where instead death has struck disproportionately more than the home and family environment," the document said.
The pontifical academy called for a "profound change of mentality and approach" to care for the elderly, pointing to the disproportionate number of coronavirus-related deaths as an example of a failure of the widespread "institutionalization of the elderly" and calling it a manifestation of "throwaway culture."