Anxious in the face of the uncertainties of the time, the French believe that the family is an obvious pillar of moral and social support. In addition to financial support, more than 8 million of them devote time to a loved one, usually an elderly relative.
In times of crisis, more than ever, the family appears as an obvious moral and social support for the French. According to Opinionway for a mutual fund, the Carac (Caisse Autonome de Retraite des Anciens Combattants), the time is one of anxiety, with 75% of those questioned declaring that they are afraid of the future, a figure nevertheless down 6 points from compared to last year, without really explaining this renewed optimism. Over 60% of them also say they have been directly affected by the economic crisis. Under these conditions, family mutual aid is a fall back on a known structure, which seems beneficial: for 86% of the people who responded, family mutual aid is obvious.
The most widespread form of this mutual aid is first of all that of the wallet. Financial aid usually goes from the oldest to the youngest generations: funding for studies, specific needs… Two thirds of the panel say they have already helped a member of their family in this way. When a parent decides to help, the average amount is around 2000 euros per year. However, the study notes that the help exists in both directions, with older generations sometimes being financially dependent. In these cases, a little more than 1000 euros per year on average allows the “elders” to subsist. As a reminder, the law obliges children to help parents in need, under penalty of “family abandonment”.
In an economic context, this form of help does not seem to be a taboo subject anymore, and 68% of respondents admitted to talking about money in the family. On the other hand, they are the same proportion to confess not to address the issue of addiction.
The difficulties of “family caregivers”
According to the French Association of Helpers, moreover, more than 8 million of them spend time for a member of their family, the majority of them taking care of their parents who have become elderly. The Carac study wanted to question a specific panel, made up of family caregivers. 73% of them have never hesitated to do so, this help having imposed itself “like an evidence”. The task is daily for a quarter of respondents, and the average for all respondents is 16 hours per week. What are they doing? They first provide moral support and a simple presence in the vast majority of cases. They take care of administrative procedures, run errands or accompany those they help on walks. For the most part (70%), caregivers do not have professional help, for example, or other tasks. In a third of cases, it is the money that is missing, and in another third, it is because the person being helped does not want to have someone extra to take care of them.
Proof that the State is struggling to enter the inner circle of family help, nearly 6 out of 10 caregivers do not know where to go to benefit from aid, while there has been a “” since January 2016, which recognizes the action of the caregiver, proclaims a “right to respite” and organizes in each department a “conference of funders of the prevention of loss of autonomy”. Very little relevant jargon and ultra-technocratic and codified provisions, because only 8% of the people concerned benefited from the “right to respite” (a kind of relay to take care of the person being helped and allow the caregiver to breathe), all the measures having met with very little success so far.