The Foundation aims to help elderly people in the Principality regain a social life with a comfortable service 24/24, 7/7. A second building specializing in the management of loss of autonomy will soon open its doors.
Two institutions, one mission. For nearly a century, the Hector Otto Foundation, created by the Menton notary of the same name, works to help needy people in the Principality. If today, its activities aimed at children, teenagers, students and people in need are less known but nevertheless significant, its actions towards seniors are of public notoriety.
Jérôme Breton has been in charge of the Management and Administration of the Foundation’s buildings since 2006. He welcomes us to the site of the Résidence Bellando de Castro, which has 80 apartments for autonomous people. 30m2 studios, with loggia and kitchenette, in which anyone over the age of 60 can live, subject to conditions.
” The person must be between 60 and 85 years old at the time of admission, whether they are Monegasque, resident in the Principality or resident in a neighboring municipality after having worked in Monaco significantlyexplains Jérome Breton. And, above all, this residence is for autonomous people. »
The detail intrigues. Institutions for the elderly are generally reserved, precisely, for seniors who can no longer live alone at home. But here, the but is not medical, but social: Very often, we welcome people who tell us that they are very comfortable in their apartment in Monaco, but that there are only young workers on their floor. They are alone from morning to evening, even on weekends, since the neighbors go skiing or to the beach… They are therefore at home but are bored there. »
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Objective: to create social ties
This structure therefore acts as a service residence: linen management, cleaning, accommodation, building maintenance, catering three times a day… Everything is offered to residents, who have only one obligation: to participate in the common lunch . A rule that allows the Foundation’s teams to have a look at the residents: ” it is an alert for us, we can spot someone who is not doing so well, who is replicating himself, details Jerome. And then, it also allows residents to get to know each other. It created exchanges, links. This is really the meaning of the Foundation, beyond accommodation. It is taken into account in the prevention of loss of autonomy or cognitive loss. »
Of course, residents who have an appointment outside, who go on vacation, who keep the family lunch at the Foundation or who are sick are exempt. Because here, everyone is free to receive or leave whenever they want, while having the guarantee of a service provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Note that animals are accepted, within reasonable limits.
Another major strength of the Foundation: the entertainment component. The program is more than rich: quizzes, aperitifs-concerts, carnival, outings, theater, beach, film screenings, museum, exhibitions, petanque, weekly workshops with the Monegasque Red Cross, geocaching, card games, scrabble, memory workshops or even first flight in a helicopter… At least two activities are offered every day.
Residents are free to participate or not. And with the end of the pandemic, the time has come to resume all these group activities, to the great slowdown of residents and Jérôme: “ The Covid has been very complicated for us. We had meals brought to the apartments, we saw an increase in the number of cases of slip syndrome and loss of autonomy, because most of our residents were used to going out, walking, seeing people… »
But fortunately, life is slowly resuming its course, in particular through the partnerships set up with the Monegasque Red Cross or with the Town Hall and its “Le Temps de Vivre” Club.
And Jérôme affirms it: in the residence, synergies, and even friendships, are created thanks to these animations: ” many residents tell us that they regret not having come sooner. Some have a little trouble getting used to it, because there are rules, a community life. But since I’ve been here, since 2006, I’ve only seen three people leave on their own. The other departures are linked to a loss of autonomy which cannot be taken care of. »
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A new structure adapted to the loss of autonomy
And precisely, offering a solution to seniors who can no longer fend for themselves is the Foundation’s other major project. The second building, located at 20 avenue Hector Otto, has been completely restructured since the end of 2018. It should open in November 2022 and accommodate older residents, with a loss of autonomy, with qualified teams and suitable equipment.
While waiting for the end of the work, some residents who originally lived there have been temporarily relocated to neighboring towns, but they remain a priority as soon as a room becomes available in Monaco. The only downside to the approach of the conclusion of this major project: the recruitment of staff, which promises to be complex. According to Jérôme, the covid-19 pandemic and the recent scandals in French nursing homes have left their mark.
But he is hopeful: The financial envelopes are there, which allows us to activate our research. (…) It’s a great project that is revolutionizing the care of seniors. Mr. Otto could not imagine that life expectancy in 2023 would be 85 years, whereas it was barely 65 years a hundred years ago. We seek to adapt our response to new needs, more focused on the management of aging. »
The cost of access to these structures is capped. Currently, it cannot exceed the threshold of 2,500 euros per month, all inclusive. But it remains adapted on a case-by-case basis. The Principality’s social benefits are included in the resident’s available resources. But if, all things considered, the required sum is not reached, the pricing is adapted to the resident’s situation: ” A third of our residents have an “à la carte” rate. ” Note that 470 euros per month are withdrawn and left at the disposal of the senior, as “pocket money. » »
A more than advantageous offer, when you take into account all the services offered. By way of comparison, according to the capretraite.fr site, the price of an EHPAD in the Alpes-Maritimes amounts to 2,682 euros per month on average.
For Jérôme Breton, these differences in price and care result in the capital importance that the Principality places on its seniors: ” Monaco remains major in the quality of care, and we see this above all in the speed of procedures, access to care and the quality of the activities offered. Some have told us: even during the pandemic, they felt like they were in a cocoon. It does not facilitate departures “, he slips, laughing.