Reader question: Where can English-speakers in France go for support or help in coping with Alzheimer’s?
On the medical side, help with Alzheimer’s starts with your GP, who can arrange for the appropriate steps to obtain a diagnosis.
Medical care related to Alzheimer’s is reimbursed at 100% and there is a range of potential social security benefits which can help sufferers with their autonomy. Maisons Départementales des Personnes Handicapées (MDPH), linked to the departmental council can advise about these.
As for general support and practical information, the association France Alzheimer has branches across France and offers advice as well as organising activities and social events to help sufferers and families. It also provides training for those in caring roles with a sufferer.
Some local groups organise so-called cafés mémoire to share a coffee and have a chat.
There are also often cooking and well-being sessions, workshops with art and music therapists, respite care from half-days to several days and even holidays.
They are not just for sufferers but also for family and friends.
They can talk to carers about difficulties and can help to put people in contact with the right doctors and social services.
You can contact the organisation with any questions by phoning 01 42 97 52 41.
Not everyone involved in this association will speak English but the staff and volunteers will try to cater to your needs.
In terms of specifically English-speaking support, it is worth making enquiries with your local branch of the organisation.
For example, we know of an English-speaking offshoot of the Dordogne branch of the association called France Alzheimer Dordogne - English support.
You can join its Facebook group here.
It is a small community of people who share and support each other when dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
It formerly ran a regular in-person English-speaking group and while it has been on hold during the pandemic it is hoped that it will start up again.
For information on this contact Alex Hewitt-Jones at the France Alzheimer Dordogne office (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 05 53 27 30 34).