‘Blue Week’ aims to reduce loneliness among elderly

The week will see many activities planned to help elderly people connect

The annual “Blue Week” (“Semaine Bleue”), taking place this week, includes seven days of activities aiming to raise awareness of the isolation suffered by many elderly people in France.

The week, which was originally founded in 1951 as just one day and known as “Old People’s Day” (“La Journée Des Vieillards”), was renamed and lengthened as “Blue Week” by the then-Health Minister in 1977, explains French newspaper France 3.

Until Friday this week, there will many activities planned in local social community centres, (known as C.C.A.S - Centre Communal d’Action Sociale). Some require prior sign-up, but many do not, and some will still have places if you or an elderly person you know would like to get involved in a town near you.

Activities may include sports designed for older people, such as the gentle-but-effective Qi Gong, a Chinese discipline involving slow stretches, which is said to improve the cardiovascular system and the memory, as well as reduce anxiety and promote calmness and a sense of wellbeing.  

There may also be lectures on subjects of interest, theatre productions, concerts, or local guided walks.

The aim is to help elderly people interact with their local community, give them a reason to leave the house, and also to dispel the stigma around retired and elderly people, and encourage younger generations to help seniors and strengthen inter-generational links.

This year’s “week” comes soon after a new study from elderly poverty association Les Petits Frères des Pauvres showed that almost 10% of people aged 80 or over in France “felt lonely every day”.

Nine in 10 elderly people in France leave the house at least once a week, the study showed, but some do not go out every day, and many suffer from loneliness and isolation.


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