With 1.2 million older people in France experiencing loneliness, a new pilot is helping to tackle the issue through improving access to technology and visits from local postmen and women.
The pilot conducted in Eure, Normandy, is part of a wider Interreg France (Channel) England project called Connected Communities. The project was established to address social isolation in the UK and France and aims to prolong the autonomy of older adults and improve their health and well-being.
Launched in Spring 2021, the “Pack Maintien à dom” (Home support package) initiative is the result of an innovative partnership between the Département de l’Eure local authority and La Poste, the French postal service.
During the two-year pilot, taking place in five different cities across Eure, 200 inhabitants aged 60 and above are expected to benefit from this free-of-charge scheme.
Following a social isolation assessment by contacts on the ground, identified beneficiaries receive an initial visit from a La Poste representative, trained in gerontology (the process of ageing and how to age well).
Upon agreeing to the service, individuals are provided with an adapted tablet, and internet access where required. With the support of postmen and postwomen, recipients are able to reconnect with far-away relatives and friends, use online public services, make medical appointments or check their accounts.
Regular visits are then organised based on the needs of each individual, with postmen and postwomen available to deliver medicines, cultural content from local libraries or simply come for a chat.
Night lightning can also be installed in the individual’s home in order to prevent domestic accidents linked to night movements.
As of July, more than a hundred Eure inhabitants are already part of the pilot.
The “Pack Maintien à dom” is part of a series of initiatives run by project Connected Communities in order to tackle loneliness among older adults across the Channel. This includes the creation of a dedicated service at Kent County Council, cooking workshops in rural Suffolk areas, and regular visits to isolated residents in Oise Département.
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