After Montpellier, the “Tous aidants” caravan arrives in Toulouse to inform those who assist a loved one on a daily basis.
Family caregivers are the people who take care of a dependent loved one, most of the time by continuing their professional activities. The health crisis has increased the burden on these caregivers. A caravan crisscrossed France for informants on their rights.
In his Tour de France, at each stage (21 this year), the “All Helpers” Caravan choose a busy and lively place, for maximum visibility. “The first day people come by, ask what we do, explains Claudie Kulak, the tour organizer, “then, while discussing, they realize that they know at least one family caregiver, even that they have been or are themselves. The following days, they return to inquire.”
We will all be helpers one day and probably all helped too.
For 3 days, from October 7 to 9, the caravan and the invited associations stayed on the Place du Nombre’Or, in the Antigone district of Montpellier. From this Monday, October 11, the caravan “all helpers” settles in Toulouse and will remain until October 13 on the esplanade François-Mitterrand.
According to studies carried out by the Compagnie des aidants, Claudie Kulak’s association, at the origin of the creation of this itinerant activity, 72% of family caregivers are poorly informed about their rights, specific leaves, allowances, etc. , assisting a loved one who has become dependent or a child with a disability is “normal”, “a duty”, which often has to be managed simultaneously with a professional activity: 45% of caregivers are active.
We are here to tell caregivers “you also have rights, you can also be supported”.
It was when she saw the colorful caravan that Bernadette Marty-Désarrois realized that she knew nothing about the status of family aid. “I am however a retired nurse, I worked in EHPAD. But I wouldn’t know what to do if I had to help an elderly person for example“, explains the 60-year-old,”and I also ask myself the question: for the moment everything is fine, but an illness, a fall, it happens quickly. I live alone, I have a son but I don’t want to be a burden on him.“Then Bernadette inquires about the existing arrangements with mutuals and local associations invited at each stage of the caravan: emergency household help, carrying meals or home respite service. Information that can also be found on the site created by the caregivers company: maboussoleaidants.fr
Inform, advise but above all listen to family caregivers. Sébastien Grau, social worker knows all the legal systems and their limits. But what seems most important to him is to listen to the caregivers. “These are people who exhaust themselves physically and psychologically to assist a loved one, every day or several times a week, often to the detriment of their own life “, details the independent social worker, “when they arrive with their loved one in a medical structure, it is him that everyone takes care of. Caregivers need to be listened to and supported too”.
Michèle Cros does not tell another chose. She takes care of her 23-year-old daughter, multidys, on her own. An invisible intellectual handicap which has encountered the young girl in difficulty and prevents her from fending for herself. “I took part-time work to have the time to help my daughter as best I could: complete the procedures, support her, organize the care. Sometimes I asked for help but the result was so inadequate that I gave up and am cured otherwise“, she explains with tears in her eyes.”I started doing things for myself, sophrology for example, to help myself and therefore be able to help her. But now, at 50 years old I realize that this is not enough anymore, I am exhausted, morally and physically. Before, I did what had to be done in the evening or even part of the night, but now I can’t. At 10 p.m. I sleep, I’m too tired. “
After a long discussion with Sébastien Grau, Michèle decided to request a caregiver leave, a new system put in place by the government with the plan “Agir pour les aidants”. This leave allows you to take 66 days in all during your entire career. Dividable and compensated days. A little extra to allow him to breathe a little.
This legal device, desired by the associations, is insufficient according to them, but it is nevertheless a first step towards a better recognition of the role of family caregivers. It is added to family solidarity leave, to support a loved one at the end of their life and parental presence leave for a child who is seriously ill, disabled or the victim of a serious accident.
In France, 11 million people have a dependent child or parent.