The "Collective living places for ageing well" project was launched in 2006 and is part of a partnership between the town of Château-Gontier, SA HLM Axentia, French Mutual Anjou Mayenne and Communal Center for Social Action.
The region Pays de la Loire in France is characterized by a significant ageing of the population, with the proportion of older people considerably higher than the national average. The region is also experiencing a shortage of services and of suitable housing for independent or slightly dependent seniors. This includes senior transportation services and home care services to improve and extend the lives of the regions elderly inhabitants. From this observation, the idea of "Collective living places for ageing well" was developed.
The purpose of the project is to create an innovative and a sustainable way to provide a safe, stable and reliable living situation to frail elderly people with low incomes. There are 30 bungalows for rent, taking into consideration the low income of the residents. They are set around a common area, to create a collective living space that promotes an active social life. Various services are provided to meet the needs of the retired people while respecting their limited financial means. The arrangement allows them to continue living as long as possible in an independent environment with the necessary services to ensure their safety and health.
The project aims to help support the life plans of retired people and is easily modelled and reproduced, especially in areas with low density urban areas where the risk of isolation or social exclusion for low-income retired people is much higher than average. A survey of satisfaction conducted among residents demonstrated that they see the value and relevance of this social initiative, and feel that it contributes to promoting their independence and a higher quality of living for seniors.
Carsat (Caisse d’Assurance Retraite et Santé au Travail) is a private organisation which provides a public service, guaranteeing seniors the payment of their state pension, and offering financial assistance to improve the living conditions of the elderly or disabled.
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