Prior to his election as French President, the “Advanced Age and Autonomy Act” was part of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promises. However, since it was tabled in autumn 2019, this bill has repeatedly been postponed.
As Alliance VITA indicated in its September 2020 analysis, it appeared as though the Covid pandemic might finally put the reform on the fast-track. During his visit to an “EPHAD” (nursing home establishments for aged and dependent individuals) President Macron declared at the time: “This virus has sometimes reminded us that we must cope with death and vulnerability, and it has shown us that we are more vulnerable at a certain age. It has led us to acknowledge that our population is aging. This means our response has to be adjusted.”
Nonetheless, on January 13, 2021, when the government resumed its’ work after the holidays, spokesman Gabriel Attal mentioned that the Advanced Age and Autonomy Act would be postponed yet again. This was confirmed a week later by the Minister for Autonomy, Brigitte Bourguignon, at the 13th National Symposium for the Elderly known as the “FNADEPA” (National Federation of Directors of Institutions and Services for the Elderly). She said: “The bill remains a priority for this presidential term, as soon as the pandemic situation allows. »
This latest postponement is worrying the professionals who have been confronted with funding and operating difficulties for years. Four different federations which organize various forms of aid, support, care and home services ( Adedom, ADMR, FNAAFP/CSF and UNA) lamented in a press release: “Over 80% of the French want to remain at home as they grow older. Granting this request is currently impossible due to staff shortages and insufficient funding budgeted for the elderly, the disabled, or families experiencing hardships. Home care and home healthcare have been neglected by the public authorities for too many years, and an ambitious reform bill and appropriate funding are urgently needed to continue to help the most vulnerable.”
On January 27th, these federations launched an awareness campaign inviting the French citizens to ask their elected representatives via this platform to fulfill three demands:
- To enact an Advanced Age and Operational Autonomy Act before summer, 2021.
- To better respect home healthcare professions: “How can our profession be belittled, when we are essential to maintaining social networks! ».
- To provide public funding more adapted to the needs of dependent, elderly or disabled people; needs which are continually increasing due to an ageing population.
It is a question of priorities. Is the government willing to focus on the issue of loss of autonomy (both at home and in health care establishments) by providing people with the assistance that the health crisis revealed to be essential?