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Explained: The help available for older people in France

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Explained: The help available for older people in France
Older people can access help to remain independent for longer. (Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)

Financial and practical help is available to older people living in France who want to remain in their homes - here's a breakdown of the services.


Many people retire to France in search of its good life - but the downside of growing old is that illness and infirmity become problematic.

The good news is that there is help available for older people to remain in their home for as long as they possibly can - from home help to financial assistance with necessary home alterations.

While care homes and nursing homes exist in France, many older French people prefer to remain at home 

Local information points

Your nearest point d’information local should be a very early port of call for anyone wondering about elderly care in France. Find one in your area by entering your postcode here.


Staff there are trained to offer advice, answer questions and ease concerns that people may have about maintaining their independence as they get older.

They help find solutions to allow people to stay at home as long as possible, or to prepare for a move into a residential home, if necessary.

They are qualified to propose solutions to continued living at home (such as home help services, meal deliveries, and so on), offer information on avoiding isolation, and help access financial aid, or adapting a home to fit changing circumstances.

You can also access information on the government’s dedicated website for older people living in France

Home help

Help with daily tasks such as meals, personal care and housework is known as aide à domicile. Depending on where you live, organisations that offer auxiliaires de vie (carer) services may be provided by the mairie, the centre communal d’action sociale (CCAS) or private businesses. 

Regardless of who’s providing the services, they have to be accredited by the départemental authorities.

The cost of using these services can be at least partially offset by applying for the means-tested Allocation personnalisée d’autonomie APA à domicile (APA), which is intended to help cover expenses faced by people with reduced autonomy who want to maintain an independent lifestyle, or who live with and are cared for by family members.

APA, available to over-60s, is managed and paid for by the each conseil départemental, which considers each case on its merits, with personalised care plans adapted to individual needs.

If you only need temporary help - for example if you're recovering after an operation - you may be eligible for aide sociale, although you’ll need a doctor’s prescription. Any required short or long-term care in this case will be paid for via assurance maladie.

READ ALSO Reader question: Can I move into a French care home as a foreigner?

Cleaning services

Over-65s on low incomes may be eligible for financial assistance to cover the cost of home domestic services not covered by a home help, such as a cleaner. This financial assistance is paid by your départment, but you must submit your application to the town hall or to your CCAS.


The minimum age limit for this drops to 60 for anyone who is recognised as unfit to work.

The monthly income thresholds are as follows:

  • less than €916.78 for anyone living alone;
  • less than €1,423.31 for a couple.

Help getting to and from activities

The scheme 'Sortir Plus' (Get around more) is available for some over-75s in France seeking support for outings, whether they be by foot or vehicle. 

The programme is intended for people over 75 years old who are in a 'fragile situation', whether that be due to isolation, age, or mobility challenges.

However, it is only available to those who worked in France in the private sector. In order to qualify, you must receive the supplementary 'Agirc-Arrco' pension.

You can find out more information in our guide.

Food services

Communes, associations and businesses offer portage de repas (meals on wheels or food delivered to your home), or meals in communal dining facilities. Some mairies will finance this, and some of the costs will be covered by AP. Check with the mairie to find services in your area.

Many mairies also offer free or cut-price means to older people on festivals or public holidays, while most mayors give our food hampers to older people at Christmas


Home alterations

Financial assistance is available towards the cost of necessary home alterations - such as buying a stairlift, for example or adding grab rails in the bathroom.

As of 2024, the three previous schemes that helped pay for home renovations were compiled into one: the MaPrimeAdapt.

Generally, the MaPrimeAdapt grant can be used to finance both interior and exterior renovations. For example, one might use 'MaPrimeRenov' to help replace a bathtub with a walk-in shower, widen doors to make them wheelchair-friendly, or install an electric stairlift.

READ MORE: GUIDE: French property grants you might be eligible for

MaPrimeAdapt' can help with 50 to 70 percent of the cost of home renovation work, though there are several conditions for eligibility.

The grant is means-tested - more info on how to apply and check your eligibility here.


Health visits at home

Anyone living with a long-term or short-term illness at home may be entitled to aid with the cost of medical and domestic care. The local information points for elderly people will be able to assist with accessing the correct assistance.

If you need help with medical matters like changing dressings or surgical aftercare, it's common for a nurse to come to your home and help with this, this should be arranged via your doctor.

If you need help getting to medical appointments, you can book a free patient transport service - as your doctor for a prescription if you need this. 

Care home

If the times comes when you can no longer manage living at home you can find information HERE on care homes and nursing homes, and how the funding of these work for foreigners in France.


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