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Alzheimer’s disease and similar disorders have attracted unprecedented public mobilisation in France. Responses for families include a recent increase in support for carers. Specific mechanisms have been developed, notably respite centres (plateformes de répit). This article compares respite centres with an older mechanism: day centres (accueils de jour). Contributing to scientific debate on the concept of care, which has been researched from a feminist perspective and in terms of the concept of empowerment, frequent in disability studies, the article shows, through a comparison of these two types of mechanism, that these theoretical perspectives can be combined. Although both mechanisms aim to support the care relationship over the long term, respite centres, far from encouraging dependence on the state, enable family carers to increase their capacity for decision-making and action so as to maintain or restore their relationship with a spouse or relative suffering from dementia.

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