If your spouse is becoming more and more reliant on you and unable to look after themselves, or you are looking after an elderly relative, then you are a carer or “aidant familial” in French.

However many carers do not think of themselves as such and struggle on alone without looking for help.  This article is about where to find that help in the Pyrenees-Orientales.

old personCarers are mainly women, often elderly and in a couple with the person for whom they are caring.  They have to run life day to day as well as take care of admin, medical appointments and even certain treatments.

Difficulties faced include exhaustion, isolation and even depression and illness as the carer struggles to cope.

Where to find help

  1. The Département’s CLIC (Centres locaux d’information et de coordination gérontologiques,) local centres for information on/coordination of old people), are there to help carers and direct them to solutions adapted to their circumstances.  A list is available on the Pôle Alzheimer site.
  2. The Maisons sociales de proximité (local community services office) will also help point you in the right direction.  Details of opening times and days in your area are available on the Conseil Général’s website.
  3. Associations – for example France Alzheimer P-O offers free training, physical support and even gym sessions with the possibility of having someone look after the person you are caring for while you exercise.

What help is available

The main type of help is the right to respite.  The plan for the personal autonomy allowance put in place by the Département can be used to pay for domestic help.  And the law to adapt to an aging society which came into force in December 2015, means that you can also get help for existing facilities such as a temporary stay in a retirement home.  There are also 217 places in day care centres in the P-O and the Département is working on how to make this work best for the needs of carers.

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