Why growing older in France is getting more expensive

The average cost of a ‘dignified retirement’ has risen from €12,514 per year in 2020 to €13,078 per year in 2021, as Covid has seen ‘people’s views on elderly care homes worsen’

25 November 2021
A carer combing the hair of an elderly woman

The cost of a ‘dignified’ retirement has increased since 2020, new figures have shown Pic: Halfpoint / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

The cost of getting older at home in France has grown by almost 3.5% in a year, a new study has shown, with the average cost of a ‘dignified retirement’ now totalling  €13,078 per year on average.

More than 15 million people are aged 65 or over in France.

The new figures show that the cost of living at home has risen by 3.49% since 2020. The average cost of ‘a dignified retirement’ for all ages (from 65-85+) is now €13,078 per year, or €1,090 per month, compared to €12,514 and €1,043 respectively in 2020.

The figures come from the second edition of the barometer by retirement website Retraite.com and Silver Alliance, a group that unites businesses designed to enable people to live at home for as long as possible.

The costs calculated comprised 25 products designed to help make retirement at home better. 

For each age group, the study analysed “more than 250 quotes” to compare the costs of basic levels of services to those of premium products, to find the average cost of a “basic retirement, an average retirement, and a luxury retirement”.

Ludovic Herschlikovitz, founder of Retraite.com, commented: “After two years of unprecedented economic and health crises, people’s views on elderly care homes have worsened, and the importance of setting yourself up to live well at home has never been more apparent.”

Broken down by age range, the study shows:

Age 65-75

  • Average costs: €583 per month
  • Basic services: €265 per month, €3,175 per year
  • Middle-level service: €648 per month, €7,777 per year
  • High-level service: €837 per month, €10,048 per year

Age 75-85

  • Average costs: €748 per month
  • Basic services: €402 per month, €4,825 per year
  • Middle-level service: €742 per month, €8,906 per year
  • High-level service: €1,099 per month, €13,184 per year

Age 85+

  • Average costs: €1,939 per month
  • Basic services: €1,010 per month, €12,123 per year
  • Middle-level service: €1,956 per month, €23,471 per year
  • High-level service: €2,849 per month, €34,194 per year

Outgoings include: 

  • Expenses such as health products, for example, a health mutuelle, hearing or eye care, and medicine
  • Home renovation including the installation of safety guards or handrails
  • Home help such as nurses or overnight care
  • Entertainment and lifestyle such as membership clubs, associations, and communication links.

The study found that healthcare costs are the highest expenses for all age groups, including health fees (insurance, eye care, and dental), and items such as walking canes, armchairs, and home products, with rising raw material costs leading to some prices going up by as much as 10%.   

Benjamin Zimmer, director of Silver Alliance, said: “The price of mutuelle insurance has risen considerably, which has an impact on the purchasing power of senior citizens. Inflation in the price of raw materials needed to produce certain products also has an impact on their final price.”

For those aged 85 and over, at-home care becomes the highest expense, with a rise of 5% compared to 2020, which can be explained due to a rise in salaries and extra costs related to Covid, such as masks, aprons, and hand sanitiser gel.

Similarly, the end of  the Action Logement aid package that had been given to older people to help them renovate their bathrooms (ended in June 2021) has increased costs for home renovation considerably.

Some costs have lowered though, partly due to recent government health reforms.

Read more: Hearing aids free in France with 'mutuelle' top-up insurance 

Benjamin Zimmer, director of Silver Alliance, said: "The health reform has made it possible to drastically reduce hearing-related costs by 2021, by offering a hearing aid without having to pay a single euro for the consumer. 

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France extends list of who qualifies for Covid booster jab

France pledges €240m for struggling at-home elderly care services

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