Senior at 50

This week on TF1 a journalist was analysing the measures being taken to combat rising unemployment (that is not the discussion).

He referred to the "Over 50s" age group as "seniors".

Was this a slip of the tongue, or at 55, should I now accept that in France I have put middle age behind me, and am now a 'senior'?

I'm going to contradict you a bit here & say that it doesn't strike me as odd people over 50 should be called séniors because they aren't young, are they. Are we, I should say... no matter what the advertising people say & all the ooh look at me here I am so dynamic at 50+ playing golf etc there is still a definite element of wow still able to do it in spite of being old (& with false teeth and a nappy, judging by the ads). Of course as I have another 15 odd years of work ahead of me at least and still have youngish children at home I don't really identify with the vivsion adland has of the séniors, esp as they try to flog me a cruise or the like but still... 50 is the start of the top end of the working age range, whatever people have to say.

Well I must say it always surprises me when i hear people who are over fifty are considered as le troisieme age

.My husband retired when he was 56 he is now 79,he would have loved to work longer but of course the administraion said no.

He is still busy and we are lucky to have a decent pension to help us through.My daughter lives in the States and i have seen 80 year olds working because they have not enough money to lives correctly.

Good luck to the ones who retire in France

I can certainly vouch for such lunches. There are the free ones (but of course nothing is free it's on the commune and we pay for the commune!). Apero. Four course lunch. Unlimited wine. Singing. Count on about 4 or 5 hours. Others are payant, Classe of whichever year. In our village de luxe meal. Seafood pile which takes minimum of one hour on its own, after a small canape selection. Then meat, cheese/salade dessert coffee unlmited wine digestif again 4 or 5 hours. Then there is the Mayor's New Year Wishes, drinks and snacks. November 11 drinks no snacks. Various committees etc all with wine some with snacks some even with big meals. We had a Burns Night Supper with about 30, fiddler and guitarist, toasting etc that was 10 euros a head with all drinks for members or 15 non members. My old school dinners in the Uk are £75 a head now! Here we difficulty selling any all inclusive meal more than about 12 euros a head! A real benefit of living in France! You also get a free meal if you have land which you let the Chasse over.

To judge by the frequent photos in our local paper the lunches organised for the oldies are pretty good and convivial, so being a senior may have its compensations

I couldn't agree more! I was horrified to be given 10 packets of 1000mg paracetamol on prescription and I am entitled to get another ten every month for the next three months.

There was something on the TV news the other day - the over 50 refers to a step change in unemployment benefit over 50 years old. Before 50, one is allowed two years of full unemployment payments, over 50 it increases to three years.

Maybe that was it?

"28 % des suicides ont concerné des personnes âgées de plus de 65 ans."

If you add up those figures about the suicide rate is roughly 50% below 65 and 50% above, so I can't see where the 28% comes from.

The total number of suicides is only 178 per 100,000 which is less than one fifth of 1%.

What are the other causes of death?

bienvenue en France ! ;-)


I suspect you are right, although where I live, it seems to be mostly the rope.

and I believe the kids are responsible for the old-age home bills.... go figure!

It wold be interesting to know how these people committed suicide. With the number of painkillers I have at home it would not be a problem. Older people presumably have more painkillers.

try applying your last sentence to a cité/HLM in a zep/banlieue défavorisée and I think you'll start to understand. France (for the French and some expats who work in difficult areas) is a long way away from those "place in the sun" programmes but there again, the same can be said of almost all countries - I've seen "both side" of Italy! ;-)

"mental illness"

Yup depression must be a part of the story.

Serveral articles I have read seem to indicate the path is also, in part, due to strong employment laws:

1) employees can't be sacked if they are unsuitable for their job, so end up being given "dead-wood" positions, which have no jub satisfaction, leading to depression

2) employers are reluctant to give CDI's resulting in a boom of interim and CDD's, and associated job insecurity, leading to depression

3) unemployed >50s have been lead to understand that in the job market they are worthless, leading to depression

From what I understand work is just so important in the vision of self-worth that putting people on the work-dump ten or twenty years earlier than necessary (i.e. at retirement) is just bad policy..... especially in view of the pensions bomb which is fast approaching and will force more and more "seniors" to stay in/need to work for far longer.

I just wish there was a "reset" button somewhere :-)

My understanding of the figures and the text is that

1) suicide is "weighted" toward the elderly.

2) France has a less high rate than Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, and Belgium.

So comparatively speaking, for a country as protectionist (in all sences), beautiful, and gastronmic as our lovely France, there is a glitch somewhere I'd have thought?

Suicide seems to be an overall problem now in France. However, it seems that we really top other countries with the rates we have among the elderly people (which is what we were discussing).A large part of the problem is the taboos surrounding mental illness and conditions don't improve with age and loneliness.

....was that a typo? ....did you say "mortals" or "morals" ;-)

Looking at the stats, I get the impression that the problem starts a lot younger than 85

Le taux de mortalité par suicide augmente avec l’âge. Pour 100 000 habitants, l’incidence du suicide est de :


6,4 chez les 15-24 ans,


12,2 chez les 25-34 ans,


20.9 chez les 35-44 ans,


26.4 chez les 45-54 ans,


22.3 chez les 55-64 ans,


20.6 chez les 65-74 ans,


29,6 pour les 75-84 ans,


40,3 pour les 85-94 ans.

Le taux de suicide chez les personnes âgées reste élevé : 28 % des suicides ont concerné des personnes âgées de plus de 65 ans.

Apparently France does not have a high rate of pensioner suicide per se, but more of a problem with elderly people (over 85) who tend to commit suicide when they feel rejected, isolated or dependent on others. For a country which talks so much about integration, we seem to do poorly in integrating our own people once they reach a certain age.

I think that the poor transport infrastructure is at least in part to blame as the elderly can't get out and about any more. Shops closing down in villages and small towns are also a problem as the elderly find it difficult (not to mention horribly stressful) to get to supermarkets. There used to be quite a lot organised for the elderly in small communities, now, to the best of my knowledge there is very little. I agree that relatives should take over, however, children often live far away and parents are sometimes reluctant to complain, or quite simply state things the way they are and people seem to have more than enough to get on with nowadays, not that it's an excuse, of course.

There is some information here about the high rates we have in France