Excerpted from “Buying a Home in France ”
Traditionally, the French expect to care for elderly relatives within the family unit (indeed adults are legally obliged to provide for their parents in old age, according to their means), so retirement homes (résidence pour retraités/seniors) are less common than in many other Western countries, although they’re becoming more usual: there are now around 5,000 retirement homes.
There are several types of home, including the following: – Conventional retirement homes (maison de retraite or maison de repos), which may be public or private but are almost all French-speaking. They may be with or without specialist care facilities (avec section de cure médicale or médicalisée).
– Sheltered apartments for those on low incomes (foyer logement or foyer soleil – the former being in blocks occupied entirely by elderly people, the latter in mixed occupancy blocks) – are for those who want and can cope with some autonomy but prefer or need supervision and special services. You rent an individual apartment, which you furnish, and share services such as a restaurant and laundry.
– Serviced apartments (résidence avec services pour personnes âgées or simply résidence services) are similar to sheltered apartments but are usually available for purchase as well as rent, and some are unfurnished.
– Retirement villages (village retraite), which are still rare in France. Retirement villages have many advantages, including security, on-site amenities and services, and a ready-made community. Amenities may include a communal swimming pool, lounge, library, exercise and music rooms and a restaurant, and services can include caretaking, cleaning, administrative help, pet-sitting, meal delivery, hairdressing, physiotherapy and excursions, lectures, games, shows and films.
Most villages are in the south of France (e.g. the six operated by Seniorales, http://www.ramos.fr – in English), but there are others elsewhere (e.g. the Village Seniors du Grand Logis near Saintes in Charente-Maritime and the Doyenné de la Risle near Rugles in Normandy). Developments usually consist of 50 to 60 one and two-bedroom villas (pavilion). Villas can be rented (for between around E300 and E600 per month) or purchased. A villa at the Grand Logis costs between E70,000 and E105,000 depending on size; a two-bedroom villa in the south of France can cost around E120,000, although the cost depends on which of three purchase options is chosen: outright freehold purchase, fixed term leasehold or lifetime leasehold.
Note that most retirement developments levy monthly service charges (usually between E150 and E500), which may include a certain number of weeks’ nursing care per illness per year in a residents’ nursing home. Service charges usually cover heating and air-conditioning, hot and cold water, satellite TV, and the other amenities and services listed above.
The costs of other types of retirement home vary according to the facilities offered.
Websites providing information about retirement and lists of retirement homes in France include http://www.distrimed.com http://www.maisons-retraite.com http://www.plan-retraite.fr (the site of the Association Française de Protection et d’Assistance aux Personnes Agées) and http://www.retraite-paisible.com
Excerpted from “Buying a Home in France 2006”