the seniors of the La Haie Vigné residence, in Caen, will vote without enthusiasm

By Beatrice Jerome

Posted today at 12:13 p.m., updated at 12:46 p.m.

The spring sun illuminates the dining room. From the bay window, you can see the garden planted with cherry and plum trees, further on the pétanque court. Scrabble boards are unfolded on the tables. “There are two ‘n’s to nun?” », hesitates Monique Goron, 93, before placing four small white squares on the cardboard board. Pierre Gaut, 96, teases the three ladies who are playing the game before his eyes. “Ah, but what chatterboxes! », laughs the former employee of the railways, that their company is enough to distract. With two other gentlemen, he is doing a salon this Saturday, March 26, in the middle of about fifteen residents. All live here. At the Senior Residence, La Haie Vigné, in Caen. “A family residence in a residential area”summarizes Nathan Danaës, the young director of the place.

The four-storey building built thirty years ago houses 82 boarders – 15 men, 67 women. The youngest is 65, the oldest 99. The residence is managed by the municipal social action center (CCAS) of the city. The rents are low, compared to the prices of private senior residences: 900 euros per month for a 35 m² studio; just over 1,000 euros for a two-room apartment, charges and entertainment included. Every day, an activity is proposed: table basketball, knitting, choir, pottery, gym, Tibetan singing bowl workshop… Six versatile agents ensure security, maintenance of the place and linen, room service, and participate in the activities.

In the dining room of the La Haie Vigné autonomy residence, which accommodates 82 people, on March 26, 2022.
Residents play scrabble.  The words found are sometimes surprising.

La Haie Vigné is a former home-housing, renamed “residence autonomy” since the law of 2016, a formula that developed until the 1990s. To stagnate since. To the point that part of the 2,000 autonomy residences in France, which bring together 108,000 modest elderly people, have aging buildings.

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Third way

However, the model is attracting renewed interest. At a time when the health crisis has called into question the model of accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad), where the revolt of families against abuse in certain retirement homes is expressed, where the Orpea scandal broke out, independent residences are a model for the future, halfway between collective accommodation and private residence. “In the process of supporting the elderly, these residences are a strategic milestone”argues Mr. Danaës, at the head of another CCAS residence out of the seven financed by the city of Caen.

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