Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel encourages partnerships between children and elders in nursing homes

Long-term care providers are uniquely able to foster relationships between our country’s oldest and youngest members, Elie Wiesel urged in his address during the closing General Session of the LeadingAge Annual Meeting Wednesday morning.

Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who became a prolific author, activist and Nobel Laureate, touched on several broader humanitarian and theological themes in his speech, such as how to find hope amidst international violence and turmoil. But his message for long-term care professionals was that aging needs to be celebrated. Providers need to develop programs that would allow elders to impart the wisdom they’ve gained to younger generations, he said.

“Go back to your communities and buy tape recorders for children.Then have them talk and record the story of an older person’s life. Can you imagine what that would do for future generations?” Wiesel said.

Wiesel is an outspoken advocate for protecting the world’s most vulnerable populations, including the elderly. He explained how he has made it his mission to prevent any group of people from being abandoned.

“An older person is a sage person. In our society we still have to fight for older people — they have to be protected,” Wiesel said.