New Roadmap on Ageing Well, what progress for health?

 On the occasion of the restitution of the work of the Conseil national de la Refondation on Ageing Well, the Minister for Solidarity, Autonomy and the Disabled, Jean-Christophe Combe, announced an interministerial, multi-year action plan for the elderly. The plan will complement the reform of the ageing population that has already begun with the unfinished examination of the « ageing well » bill and the future social security funding bill for 2024. While the main axes of this reform are already known (recognising and simplifying the lives of those who care for the elderly; identifying social isolation and better preventing loss of autonomy; simplifying access to public services and supply; combating abuse and making the elderly sector more ethical), we have to wait until the end of June to find out what this new plan will contain. 

A roadmap expected by the end of June and funding still to be determined 

While the exact contours of the roadmap are not yet known, it should include concrete actions to promote sport, support carers, reduce falls, and address the issue of citizenship and social ties for the elderly. In addition, the Minister announced that he was working on the issue of the economic model for nursing homes and on increasing the number of people receiving medical care. He would like to see changes in the way care is organised in these establishments, with better-coordinated teams of carers and the role of the coordinating doctor. This work should be a continuation of the measures taken under the previous five-year term (e.g. fall prevention plan, tighter controls on care homes, recruitment of professionals, etc.). 

Currently, the big unknown remains the financing of this reform. Although the budgetary trajectory for the fifth branch of the Social Security system provides for an increase of €10 billion a year, this is not likely to be enough to meet the challenges of the elderly, according to the players in the sector. However, the Minister has remained tight-lipped on this point for the time being. 

A mission on health prevention for senior citizens 

At the same time as these announcements, Agnès Firmin le Bodo, the French Minister for Territorial Organisation and the Health Professions, has entrusted the Silver Eco sector with a mission to support the Ministry in the area of seniors’ health, with a view to developing a plan for healthy ageing. The aim is to gain an overall view of the health of the elderly so as to work on detecting the first signs of loss of independence. The mission will focus on the 55-75 age group in order to better document the development of pre-fragility and frailty and anticipate the demographic transition. Led by Professor Olivier Guérin, Head of the Rehabilitation, Autonomy and Ageing Unit at Nice University Hospital and Vice-President of the French Geriatrics and Gerontology Society, the taskforce will deliver its conclusions around autumn, setting out recommendations « to find the best ways of keeping our population healthy and ultimately more independent ».