Caregivers : a glimmer of hope ?
According to an OpinionWay survey for l’Observatoire de la santé, half of French people say they are currently caring for or have cared for a loved one facing a loss of autonomy. Now, in the face of an increasingly ageing population (INSEE estimates that nearly one in three French people will be over 60 by the year 2060), the problem of caregivers is becoming a public health issue, with 31% of caregivers saying they neglect their own health because of their role. The government has just unveiled a plan for the “mobilisation and support of caregivers”, on the 23rd of October, and sponsoring companies are already mobilising on the subject. Crédit Agricole Assurances is one of the leaders in this. Next year, the company will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its call for projects in support of organisations working for caregivers.
Qu'est-ce qu'un aidant ?
Potentially anyone. By definition, a caregiver is someone who, on a voluntary basis, regularly assists someone with reduced autonomy due to age, sickness or disability in going about their daily lives.
The tasks they perform are wide-ranging and sometimes quite onerous: nursing, bathing, shopping, housekeeping, taking medical appointments and performing administrative tasks, or managing their move to a treatment centre or retirement home.
Among the difficulties they encounter is finding help. 73% of caregivers say they don’t know what which financial, human and technical assistance and resources are available to them (1).
Reconciling the irreconcilable
Quite often, caregivers also have a professional activity. Finding a balance between work and caregiving can become a real obstacle course. For 33% of caregivers, the situation has a negative impact on their work life and 58% say that it is difficult to reconcile work and family responsibilities (1).
1. Macif – Unaf survey: “Being a caregiver and working” survey of 371 employee-caregivers over the period between February and July 2015.
10 years of commitment
Call for projects
As a responsible insurer on the issues of ageing, health, and dependency, CAA has, naturally, been involved in the case of caregivers.
It started with a national call for projects that began 10 years ago. It concerns all public interest organisations: associations, foundations, public bodies, etc., having a need to finance initiatives for caregivers. The projects are highly diverse: training initiatives offered to companies, collective information workshops for caregivers to encourage sharing and lessen their isolation, mobile apps providing psychoeducation for caregivers whose relatives are undergoing psychiatric treatment, etc.
CAA receives nearly 200 applications every year, thanks to the support of the Crédit Agricole Regional Banks in communicating and broadcasting the calls for projects. They are excellent at networking and helping to make known the wealth of actions and variety of projects within their territory.
A specialised firm shortlists some thirty of them, then they are studied by a mixed selection panel made up of personalities from the Crédit Agricole group and experts from civil society (gerontologists, sociologists, CNSA (the French national funding agency for the elderly and handicapped), etc.). This balance is necessary to judge all aspects of the relevance of the projects.
In 2018, CAA decided to focus the call for projects on three themes identified over the years as key: young caregivers, caregivers’ health, caregivers and employment.
To date, the call for projects has resulted in support for over 150 organisations with grants of nearly 2.5 million euros in total.
This year, Nexecur Assistance, a Crédit Agricole Group specialising in remote support, has published a guidebook for caregivers: practical information on healthcare organisations and professionals, financial support, etc. With more than 11,025 subscribers, Nexecur Assistance offers services to help with the daily life of families by ensuring the safety of their loved ones 24 hours a day, both at home and outside.
Being attentive to one’s own employee-caregivers
CAA wished to give its employees the same consideration by putting in place good practices to support the caregivers.
Agreements were signed. They cover 4 major topics.
These agreements were awarded the “Company & Employee-Caregivers Prize" under the patronage of Marisol Touraine. CAA received the award for best working conditions for its employee-caregivers.
They provide for the following support measures
• A social worker is available to caregivers to provide them with personal, confidential advice on everything they can do to facilitate their daily lives. This social worker is their key contact person on this subject.
Crédit Agricole Assurances also offers employees and their spouses the Responsage information and support service (www.responsage.com). Under this service, employee-caregivers can contact a adviser who will provide a confidential, personalised response to their request within 72 hours. Responsage is a free, confidential service.
In addition, employees can also access a psychological support platform
• In addition to their legally and contractually mandated leave, employees also have available special leave, financed by a solidarity system using donations from employees and topped up by the company.
• Crédit Agricole Assurances helps finance a universal employment services cheque (CESU) which allows employee-caregivers to benefit from assistance to help pay for personal services.
• To make employee-caregivers aware of the medical risks associated with their situation (stress, exhaustion, isolation), Crédit Agricole Assurances has created a guidebook on preventive health care for caregivers and will be training the employees concerned (social workers, etc.) on the issues of prevention of health risks.
Making a commitment via our offerings
The Vers l’Autonomie long-term care product is a comprehensive insurance that covers both serious and partial dependency to meet the needs of its customers in the event of loss of autonomy. In addition to the payment of a monthly stipend and a fixed sum in the event of established dependence, the assistance services allow caregivers to find support: caregiver’s time off, housing audits, assistance with administrative procedures, follow-up by a social worker, help with placement in a retirement home, etc.
The “Advice” section on the https://www.credit-agricole.fr/ website provides advice on issues related to the care of a dependent person. Among others, the website provides advice from experts on illnesses related to the loss of autonomy, existing assistance, and the role of the caregiver. The “Vers l’Autonomie” contract has been awarded the “GAD Assurance dépendance” label by the French Insurance Federation. It is marketed by advisers at the Crédit Agricole Regional Banks.
The public authorities take up the subject
On 25 April this year, President Emmanuel Macron publicly expressed the need to “recognise” caregivers and “build a place for them in public policies”. A strategy of “mobilisation of and support for caregivers" was presented by the government on the 23rd of October. This plan includes six “priorities”, with a budget of 400 million euros between 2020 and 2022: Compensation for leave taken by employees who put their professional activity on hold to care for a disabled or elderly person. “Strengthening and diversifying time off solutions”, with the goal of doubling temporary shelter capacities for disabled and elderly people by 2022 and doubling the number of caregivers supported. The government is also looking for volunteers among young people in civic service or universal national service. Initiatives to train public education staff to “identify and provide guidance to young caregivers” and encourage them to adjust their school time (studies and exams). Creation of a national hotline and a digital platform listing all the initiatives in the different territories.
Source: le Monde