In a notice published on May 17, 2018, the French National Consultative Ethics Committee (NCEC) pointed out the ethical issues related to aging, especially the risk of being socially isolated or excluded.
The authors reveal a collective denial towards old people who are no longer self-sufficient, which can result in mistreatment, social exclusion and even ghettoization.
The text recalls that the number of non-autonomous elderly people is over one million in France in 2010, and is estimated to reach 1.5 million in 2030. The average age of people living in “EHPADs” (French nursing homes) is currently 85 years old. In many cases these individuals are “left on their own” and “socially excluded”. For those age 75 and over, the suicide rate is twice the national average: 30 per 100,000 compared to 14.9.
The NCEC alerts on the way seniors are treated by society. They also criticize the media, which in their opinion, distort or misinform when they do not report on “the real life of vulnerable and frail individuals”.
Among the recommendations made by the NCEC some are similar to those presented in recent parliamentary reports.
- More systematic support to family and caregivers in charge of ageing individuals, a prerequisite condition for at-home care.
- Developing new forms of volunteering to create an interface of solidarity between those who are in good health and those suffering from illness or disability, and their loved ones.
- developing intergenerational dynamics between healthy and sick or disabled, between the young and the elderly, between active employees and unemployed or retired people…
Following the vote on the Act on Adapting Society to Ageing Population which came into effect in January 2016, the government appointed, last February, a commission to prevent mistreatment of the elderly and disabled persons.