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Aging with a family carer, a possible alternative to the Ehpad

By Solène L’Hénoret

Posted today at 2:00 p.m.

Around the table, Ghislaine and Roger, aged 89 and 95, are finishing their game of Triominos. Eyes half-closed, Madeleine dozes, installed in her wheelchair with the two other boarders. “She hears everything we say”, specifies Maria, who caresses her hand discreetly, each time Madeleine is seized with spasms, as if to reassure her. The cozy atmosphere of the living room is interrupted from time to time by the face of one or other of Maria’s little girls who have come to spend the day “because they are on vacation”.

For six years for Madeleine Baudouin, five years for Roger Descoins and eleven months for Ghislaine Rozet, they have shared the daily life of Maria Subota, their welcoming family. In her house in Tavers (Loiret), she organizes and plans their days: waking up at 5 a.m. to take care of the changes, then showers, cooking, medication, meals, games, care, naps, cleaning, medical visits, calls from their families… And at 8:30 p.m., all these little people are in bed. “You see that I have time! After 8:30 p.m., the evening is mine! »insists Maria, who takes care of her residents alone since the death of her husband, Jacques, in 2016.

Read the editorial: Dependency linked to old age is a societal choice

Wedged in his wheelchair, Roger waits for the mistress of the house to serve the coffee to taste the rogaliki, flaky croissants with fruit jellies that she has prepared for them. This recipe, Maria brought it back from Ukraine, her country of origin, which she left at the age of 10. She then moved to Romania, studied there, then worked as a quality inspector in a company specializing in wood. She met Jacques there and agreed to follow him to France in 2002, with their two children. “I moved to Romania, without knowing a word. A year later, I was first in class. Here, I learned French thanks to the TV, says 62-year-old Maria. I had to rush through my life, I always had to surprise myself. »

Maria Subota, family carer, in the room of one of the three elderly people she accompanies, at her home in Tavers (Loiret), February 10, 2022.
Coffee break at Maria Subota, in Tavers (Loiret), February 10, 2022.

A multitude of delicious memories

Upon their arrival in France, the family moved into an apartment in Orléans. This is where Maria begins to take care of Marcel, their 72-year-old neighbor living upstairs. While the old man becomes more and more dependent, his doctor introduces Maria to the status of foster carer. This meeting decides her to ask the departmental council for approval, in order to take Marcel under her roof. To assure “health, safety, well-being” people welcomed, have accommodation “meeting the criteria of decency”… Maria already met all the conditions required for the implementation of this system.

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