In Italy we have the oldest population in Europe and we are the oldest country in the world after Japan with 14 million elderly people. Of this large community, 300 thousand are housed in different structures from north to south. 4629 are precisely the RSAs, non-hospital clinics but health clinics introduced in Italy in the nineties.
The RSAs – Residenze Sanitarie Assistenziali – welcome for a period, and in some cases indefinitely, people who are no longer self-sufficient but who do not need specialized medical care or articulated health care.
These data – already problematic in themselves – have become news stories due to the health emergency caused by the Coronavirus, which has decimated the generation of our elderly, pride of the country and example of longevity worldwide. Unfortunately, because of this invisible killer, which affects the most fragile elderly – and accomplices of the many mistakes made in the management of the emergency – we found ourselves facing a massacre that has taken on an enormous public dimension and has caused an incredible tear in all of us.
The elderly are the foundation on which we have built our lives, they make us aware of a past we have not lived, and never before have they become the warning of fragility in the human dimension. In this time of the ephemeral and oblivion they have shown us the value of affection, memory and mourning.
Personally, I have always had a special attention and dedication to the elderly. I believe they are an important resource for young people because they are able to transmit ancient knowledge, lived values that risk being lost, community traditions, different forms of consciousness of space and perception of time.
Through the donation of the Library of Wisdom we have tried to bring reading within these very structures to encourage convivial moments with relatives, friends and among the guests themselves. In the same way, the Beauty Giver project – which involves schools and future Beauty operators – had as its objective to devote particular attention to the social aspect of Beauty as a right of the frail elderly. In this sense we have encouraged the activities of the Aesthetics Workshops in the RSAs by the Professional Schools for Wellness Operators.
There is no age limit in taking care of one’s body, we set the limit to Beauty culturally! With this in mind, we have created a training course to train Beauty Givers, professional figures able to take care of the beauty care of the frail elderly.
One of the main points on which the various training activities are articulated is to promote authentic communication through gestures that promote empathy and trust between professional and client.
The touch of the expert hand of a Wellness practitioner in applying a cream on the hands, face or to beautify the face promotes relaxation and abandonment to the reassuring figure of the professional. In addition, through the comfortable, affective and empathetic touch the passage of warmth and energy takes place: these are gestures that recall experiences lived in childhood and are part of the ancestral memory that is rarely forgotten. The application of a product can reactivate precisely that mnestic level that is present in each of us.
Hence the need to turn to the production of specific cosmetics for the elderly, both to respond to their needs and desires, and to make them live experiences of Beauty that favor the level of Wellness.
Con-atto is the key word that allows us to open a communication and a bond with the elderly who are no longer self-sufficient and have dementia. It is called Con-Tact Therapy.
Con-tact is a form of true communication, which takes place with a comfortable, emotional and empathic touch. It plays a significant role in the activation of changes in neural, endocrine, muscular and cognitive systems. Through the relationship it promotes relaxation and the passage of authentic warmth and energy, and allows the caregiver to be part of the care path of the loved one. Through the use of cosmetics it is possible to strengthen the value and power of touch…
Unfortunately, social distancing has made relationships within RSAs even more delicate, making the elderly more isolated, inactive and closed in a past made only of memories. Through the project I FORZIERI DELLA SAGGEZZA, we tried to make the affection and closeness of the whole community feel, creating entertainment videos recorded directly from home. The support of friends, actors, actresses, musicians, artists and beauty professionals was fundamental. Each of them made themselves available to tell stories, read poetry, play and give advice on Beauty, Wellness and Fashion. An example of solidarity and humanity that is rarely created so spontaneously. Together we have shown that our elders are not alone and that we will take them by the hand as they did with us when we were little.
“We are Aeneas who takes Anchises, his old and paralyzed father, on his shoulders to carry him to safety from the fire of Troy.
We are Virgil who gave that story to the world.
We are Gian Lorenzo Bernini who, at the age of twenty-two, carved that message for eternity in marble”.