With the health crisis, the elderly have been more isolated than ever. The management of the EHPAD les Epriaux (Fruges) has set up a shop inside the residence. In addition to being a meeting place, this grocery store is of real therapeutic interest.
Like every Friday, the queue lengthens in the main corridor of Epriaux, a nursing home in Fruges (Pas-de-Calais). For a year now, the store set up by the healthcare team has won over the residents. Equipped with their list of courses, they come to look for sodas, cakes, hygiene products or magazines: the offer is wide, and adapted to the needs of customers. “We are very attentive, explains Stéphane Horville, animator-coordinator. Each week they have the opportunity to tell us what they need. We order, and the week after, it’s on the shelves. “
A gesture of solidarity during the crisis
At the start of the health crisis, it was impossible for residents to go to school; contacts with the outside world were very limited. “The confinement ended, it was still very difficult for them to quickly get what they had arrived. When their relatives brought them things from the outside, there was a disinfection lock, it took several days …” explains Gilles Castelein, the director of the establishment. Very quickly, the animation teams volunteered to set up a grocery store. Everything is sold there at cost price: the objective is not to produce profits, but to serve the elderly.
Of the 110 residents of Epriaux, around fifty have become loyal customers. For them, the animators are tailor-made. “We know them well, so we can better support them. Some people lose their memory a little, or have help to navigate the shelves, or to pay. Hypertension with a salt-free diet … For them, we must offer suitable products. ” At 66, Alain Parmentier has been a customer since day one: “It’s good, because it helps out. Before, I had to call my daughter every time, so that she did lessons for me, it took longer. It’s more convenient for everyone.”
“It allows us to create social links”
If it is a tool to improve the lives of residents, the store is also and above all a means of making them forget about everyday life. During confinement, residents spent several weeks isolated in their room. A difficult ordeal, both physically and psychologically. For the healthcare team, the grocery store is a therapeutic tool. Memory exercises on the shelves, mental arithmetic at the cash desk … Stimulated, these elderly people open up more to others, and come out of their isolation.
“It’s a date they wouldn’t miss for the world, set to delight Stéphane Horville. It allows us to create a social bond, that there is exchange, as we will win in a supermarket outside. A taste of normality, which seduces Roger Lejosne, 74 years old. In a wheelchair, he no longer has the opportunity to leave the establishment. “It feels good to chat with such nice people. I come every week, and it makes me very happy.”
If the grocery store was an experiment in the beginning, management would now like to make it permanent. But without an allocated budget, it is difficult to plan. “If some people want to join us one day a week to be volunteers, that helps us a lot”, confides the director. Donations would allow them to set up a waiting room, or buy racing tanks. A way to fit this little grocery store even more realistic.
To contact the establishment, find them on their Facebook page here, or at 03.21.47.17.77.