Advice about retirement/nursing homes

Although we have lived here 6 years our experience with the medical side has been, thankfully, non existent until recently. My mother who is 89, has been living with us for just over a year but is getting very frail. She is registered with a doctor and has an "attestation" but is still waiting for her Carte Vital. Her general physical health is not good although her mental health is not bad apart from her short term memory is not as good as it was. Has anyone any experience with how the retirement homes/nursing homes work here. My mother has pensions and savings but not sufficient to pay the whole amount for very long. Would she get help from the state with the costs? Failing a home is there help available like respite care or any help with looking after? Any advice would be gratefully received. My mother speaks perfect French so no problem there.

Thank you Doreen, I downloaded the form but then was told that I needed to contact the Exportability team who are going to send me the correct form to claim from here. Anyway, thank you for your help because I thought that AA was not payable if you left the UK and were not already in receipt of it.

Thank you Margo.

Thank you Brian.

Thank you Babette all very useful to know.

Thank you Kerry. I am about to apply for Attendance Allowance from the UK so that may help.

Thanks Terry very useful info.

Thank you John.

Thank you Doreen, as luck would have it a new rule starting 8.4.13 allows UK nationals to apply for AA here in France even though they did not have it in the UK before. So I have been in touch with the Exportable AA team and am waiting for the forms.

Although not old enough for normal retirement, due to frequent falls, when my wife has had to go back to see her sick mother, I have had a nurse, home-help and meals on wheels come in to check on me. On one occassion, after my wife returned, I fell in the garden and it was when we decided that all my visitors would have left by then and I would have been stuck outside until the next morning. Just before Christmas her mother died and she expected to be away for a month. So it was decided that I would have to go into the local retirement home. The care and service I received was excellent, the food although good, was not always to my taste but that was me not them. The month cost us about 1700€ including help with toileting, laundry and telephone calls although mainly I had incoming calls. The home was in our own village so I was free to spend time with my cronies because I am well known here should anything had happened. That was with Ehpad but the home-help I got at home was from Adapa, about 15€ an hour (they will also take me into town in a minibus for 9€). The meals on wheels came via Ehpad again and were about 7.50€ per day. All staff from these organisations were extremely helpful and willing. Nothing at all like some of the reports from England.

Not an expert either, Roger, but having handled my mother-in-law's affairs (see below) for many years I know that the cost of the home and care was deductible. She never paid tax but once I found out about this I seem to remember getting a very small cheque from the tax people every year.

I believe (so caveat) that it is a refund ie she may not be a tax payer (low income) but receives a credit against the cost of care. But its better to ask one of the tax experts on here :-)

Our personal experience with my mother-in-law ties in with all that's been said so far. We managed to find her a place in an EHPAD (Etablissement d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes) half an hour's drive from our home when it became more than clear that she could no longer look after herself in her flat three and a half hours drive from us. It was "médicalisé", which meant there was an on-call doctor and there was always a nurse on duty as well as support staff. This cost under €2000 a month for a very nice room overlooking the River Lot where she had her own furniture. The room cost about €45 a day and the charge for her care when she was finally totally dependant reached a maximum of about €18 a day. Homes in rural areas are a great deal cheaper than in the city and they are also smaller and more homely. The cost went up on a regular basis as her condition deteriorated and she needed more care. Her condition was assessed on a regular basis and as well as the cost of the room the benefits she was entitled to like the APA (Allocation Personalisée d'Autonomie) also went up. She also got a housing allowance and something else I can't remember. Even with this help her income was not enough to pay the bill and once her savings ran out we had to pick up the difference. However almost all of her medical bills were refunded in full by the secu.

Aides a domicile cost about 18€ per person per hour Sundays and Jours fériée cost 23€ payable monthly (here in N Dordogne) the only relief available is 50% against her tax bill


We happen to know Cathy, the local ADMR (Aide à domicile en milieu rural) social assistant very well. She lived about three minutes walk away when we were first here, visits both closest neighbours either side of us and still calls in here for a coffee now and again. Pat, your mother possibly needs this service rather than the very costly maison de retraite option. In some areas preference is given to people who have neither family nor other local human resources such as friends available and places are fewer than demand, which is the case here. A new centre is being built at present but it is fully 'booked' already from what our friend says, although it will not open before the end of the year.

If her health is disabling the local health authority, (after instruction by her doctor) will undertake an assessment and is likely to provide a percentage of the costs of care, relative to the degree of disability. The care covered can f.instance be personal hygiene help, cleaning, shopping. The availability and capability of her immediate entourage will be taken into account to some extent when the amount of aid is determined. There are several networks of registered people doing this kind of work, ask her doctor for the local ones.

Long term medical nursing assistance that can be take care of with regular visits by the district nurse is not charged for, though full time nursing care in the home would be chargeable to the patient. There may be exemptions in regard to care for patients needing end of life palliative care in the home,I understand that provision is not uncommon but discretionary and depending on the treating doctor's view of the patients medical requirements and the patient's willingness to go to an end of life palliative care unit ( not to be confused with a maison de retraite, though some maison de retraite also offer maison de repo services and or specialist facilities (alzheimer etc)).

I know the French are all for keeping you in your own home which suits us too, in our village we have an ADMR which supplies home help, sorry I don't know what the initials stand for or how much they charge but a lot of the old folk in our village use them and they are not rich people. I guess we all have to think about this eventually..

We investigated a maison de retraite for Mum when her mental ability became too difficult to adequately cope with.

While she would have been able to pay for her care herself circa 3000€ per month from the proceeds of the sale of the family home we were told that any shortfall would have to be covered by her family (you and any siblingsyou may have) from their own resources and only if the family were in reduced circumstances would the state step in with help.

I'm sure that by now you will have investigated extra care for her in your home and will have found that 'aides a domicile' are quite expensive even taking into account the tax rebate available.

Respite care is available by means of your local Maison de retraite but you have to pay the costs yourselves

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