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What help is there to adapt homes in France for old age?

We look at the aid schemes currently available in France to help older people to continue living at home

There are several grants available to help adapt homes for old age Pic: Ingo Bartussek / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I remember reading in The Connexion that there would be a new scheme to help adapt homes for old age. What is happening with this – what is now available?

Last year, France announced the creation of a new grant scheme to help people to age-proof their homes instead of needing to move into a care home further down the line.

It is expected that this will be targeted at people over 70, especially those who are on low incomes.

The scheme, dubbed MaPrimeAdapt', is set to be launched in 2024.

The government has said the objective of MaPrimeAdapt’ will be to “do more, and more simply”, including providing a more user-friendly system and more support. 

The creation of MaPrimeAdapt' in 2024 should also come with a larger budget. France currently spends €152million a year on adapting housing, compared to €580million in the UK.

What aids are currently available?

In the meantime, however, several other aid programmes already fulfil a similar function, as detailed below.

Each of these applies only to your primary residence, not to second homes.

There may also be local schemes in your area. Contact your mairie for more information (in larger towns the relevant service is the centre communal d'action sociale).

Habiter facile: This scheme from the Agence Nationale de l’Habitat helps towards making rooms in your home more accessible. 

For example, this could include widening doors for wheelchair users, installing a ramp, or replacing a bathtub with a shower.

Read more: A guide to retirement homes in France

Applicants with ‘very modest financial resources’ can have 50% of the cost of the work paid for, up to €10,000. Those with ‘modest resources’ can get help for 35% of the costs, up to €7,000. 

The means testing depends whether you live in the Paris region or elsewhere in France. 

A person living alone in Ile-de-France is considered to have ‘very modest resources’ when they earn up to €22,461 and ‘modest resources’ up to €27,343, compared to €16,229 and €20,805 elsewhere.

The full thresholds are available here, and you should use the revenu fiscal de référence found on your last income tax assessment.

Pension fund: Further help is available from regional caisses de retraite (pension funds).

Not all foreign residents will be eligible, however, as you must have a French pension in order to qualify and your main pension regime should be the ‘general’ scheme (as opposed to one for a specific kind of work).

You can obtain up to €3,500 towards modifications such as changing the floor surface or making shutters motorised, energy-efficiency works such as changing your boiler or installing insulation, and equipment such as path lighting or bathroom aids.

You cannot combine it with various disability and autonomy benefits such as Allocation personnalisée d’autonomie (Apa) or Prestation de compensation du handicap.

You can apply online here and more information is available (in French) at this link.

Tax credits: It is also possible to apply for a tax credit, worth 25% of the cost of adapting the property. This can apply within ceilings of €5,000-worth of work for a single person, and €10,000 for a couple.

This is available for homeowners and renters.

You must also have a carte mobilité inclusion disabled person’s card, a disability pension from the military or due to an accident at work, or be eligible for the Apa, which helps people with dependency needs.

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