25 February 2020 - Newsletter

AGEING IN THE CITY

A geing does not affect all territories the same way. More pronounced in some of them, it will occur faster in others. But everywhere, it is a major phenomenon and a subject of central political concern.

The municipal elections [that will occur in France in March] must be the time to co-define with the inhabitants how the local level should contribute to support ageing. That’s why we modestly try to bring ideas and principles of action to the attention of the candidates.

The first principle must be to have a precise vision of ageing on their territory. Social needs analysis may do exactly that. Carried out in a sufficiently detailed manner, it enables the rethinking of the different forms of offer matching the demand. This exercise is particularly useful since the offer is clearly not homogeneous from one department or city to another.

The second principle is to not partition these different forms of offer and to avoid operating in silos. The EHPAD for the oldest and most dependent, the rest of the offer for the others, is not the most relevant way to meet the real needs. On the contrary, the offer must be able to follow the patient’s path. And the two “endpoints” of this path are particularly worth rethinking.

The nursing home, on one hand, has to open itself up to become a platform reaching out to the territory. The housing, on the other hand, must be modernized to bring a plurality of help, care, security and social bonding services, based on the latest technologies. And this must be done by also taking into consideration the other forms of intermediate housing. But rethinking the offer will also be about transforming our cities, in order to build societies adapted to elderly people’s needs, just like the French Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities has promoted for 8 years and whose initiatives may inspire more than one city.

Definitely, the municipalities or their social centres should not only take an active part in redesigning the offer on their territory, but also in making it legible and attractive. The local public service has certain room for manoeuvre. Since the city hall is perfectly identified by the users, since it generally inspires trust and since it knows the field and the citizens well, it stands in a good position to give consistency to the offer and coherency to the elderlies’ path. And this must be considered now.