The state to look after my father?
My elderly parents and I live in France, although I work abroad for most of the year. My parents have small UK state pensions but my father who suffers from dementia is unable to look after himself. If my mother dies first or becomes incapable of looking after him, will the French system provide help? AB
AS A permanent French tax resident your father should be able to be assisted, either to stay in his own home or to go to a residential home – indeed he may already be eligible for some help.
Firstly however, if their pensions are small your parents may wish to look into the possibility of Aspa pension top-up, which is organised via Saspa for people who do not have a pension through having worked in France and is usually for over 65s. It tops pensions up to €9,504 for a single person at current rates (€14,755 for a couple).
Mairies can assist with applications and may sometimes offer a complement called aide sociale communale. Accessing such benefits may be easier if he can show at least five years’ residence in France.
For permanent residents aged over 60 who need help with daily tasks – paying for home help, special equipment and home adaptations etc – there is a benefit granted by the departmental council (conseil général) called Allocation Personnalisée d’Autonomie (APA), giving a variable amount (up to €1,313/month) depending on how much help is needed and on the applicant’s income and capital.
If your father needed to move to a retirement home, there are options in the state sector and his mairie (if it is a larger town, the section called Centre Communal d’Action Sociale - CCAS) can advise.
There is also a network of centres advising older people called CLICs (Centre Local d’Information et Coordination).
APA can continue to be paid towards the “dependency care” part of the bill if a person moves into a home.
Aide Sociale à l’Hébergement, helping with accommodation costs may also be granted by the departmental council, depending on means, for those without sufficient income to cover fees (the CCAS or CLIC can also advice).
Recipients should be willing to use at least 90% of their own income from all sources, although they must be left at least €95 per month. It can be recovered from their estate after they die (as can Aspa, within certain limits).
Under French law descendants, such as yourself, may also be asked to help needy parents, within a reasonable degree and depending on your own resources.
This may mean contributing towards retirement home fees.
Regarding Alzheimer’s, such care is reimbursed 100% by the state. The France Alzheimer association is a useful port of call for more information.