23 June 2020 - Uncategorized

ADAPTING by Christine Bertrand, animator at the residence Moulin de Domèvre (Vaxy)

ADAPTING by Christine Bertrand, animator at the residence Moulin de Domèvre (Vaxy)

Before March 17th, animation was a group activity, usually joyful. We sing, we laugh, we meet, we play, and we party with music, songs and shows. We dance hugging each other. All these gestures reflect our bond and our complicity.

And suddenly… it stops. Like a bad joke, this announcement makes a big noise and plunges us into silence.

Containment. An empty dining room, corridors without residents walking around, masks that hide the smile, bouffant caps jammed on our heads… Containment is a strange world.

Life is organized behind the bedroom doors. We had to change our organization. Switching to a full-time job, at last (oh it had been a dream for such a long time!). But what can I do with contained residents, and without most of my equipment?

And this question that torments me: how can we retain conviviality, good humor, lightness state of mind normally generated by animation, when dozens of people are currently sent to intensive care units? Releasing balloons, organizing games on tablets … Isn’t it futile when others are fighting to save lives?

Finally, the animation (the animator?) found its place in this strange life. We discover other aspects of ourselves. We take the time. We develop individual activities, activities at a distance from each other. And then new technologies came to the rescue: Skype, Messenger and others allowed us to maintain the link with families, to see each other, to find a smile… under the mask.

We were able to mobilize new resources while focusing on the essential. The contact with the residents was essential, they cared about me and I brought them a little “ray of sunshine” (Thank you Mr F. for this compliment).

We have been kind to each other. The little attentions, the time spent walking. The appointments with families created great joys, despite the very bad news constantly broadcasted on TV.

The little bubble in which we experienced ups and downs allowed me to see things in a different light, with greater listening and more individual time. The humanistic side of life in retirement homes has been favored and I hope it will continue.

The key word for this period was definitely “ADAPTATION”.


Hanging on despite…
… anger for this spreading virus, this damn virus, which forces us into containment and isolation.
… fear of catching it, fear of transmitting it, fear of dying, fear of killing.
… sadness, will we lose this resident?
… discouragement, “I have tried everything …”, what are we going to discover tonight or tomorrow? How many cases more? Who are we going to lose?
… exhaustion, having to hold the body of the person who is no longer able to stand on his legs, washing him while respecting his dignity, going against his will to let it go, having to hold on, spreading good energy and the belief that one day this period will end and that we will all celebrate with Nancy D.! By Stéphanie LOTTIAUX, psychologist at the residence Vaillant Couturier (Marly)

The return of the residents to the restaurant or the entertainment space will be something that will be remembered. It felt like coming back to life after having put it on hold.

We have also been impressed by the trust that families placed in us, it generated a sense of “pride”. A feeling that made us realize that there was no room for error.

By the team of the residence Les Alpilles (Saint-Etienne du Grès)


According to me, when you work with elderly people, it is impossible not to fight. We are committed to this. As long as I could, I would have stayed for them, even if it meant putting myself in danger. (…) And what a joy to see residents affected by the Covid coming back cured to the residence. By Ambaria, nurse


Coming to work with a deep fear, but still being there. Coming and feeding our residents with the anxiety of contaminating them, but still being there.
Coming with the fear of losing a beloved one, but still being there.
Coming to take care of resident’s well-being and overlooking your own family, but still being there.
Coming and leading a changing team and acting as if nothing was happening, but still being there.
Making sure our residents get everything for their comfort and forgetting our own comfort, but still be there.
Not sparing energy neither in time nor in space, but still be there.
Not expecting anything in return because that is our responsibility, but still be there.
Fighting to be sure that residents do not lack anything, but still be there.

If someone asked “What if I had to do it again?”, I would say no at first, but I would still be there of course because otherwise what is the point of doing this job? By Jean-Philippe, restaurant chef


It is so hard to change our Mediterranean habits: no more hugging, no more shaking hands, no more kissing. We realize how essential this non-verbal language is for us. What can replace a hug? Which word? Which sentence? In fact we don’t know, but we will have to learn. This is our only chance not to let this damn virus get into our bronchi. By the team of the residence La Joliette (Marseille)