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While the collective mind often associates old age with health problems, this period of life has become increasingly synonymous with residential autonomy across Europe as family involvement and/or the dissemination of at‑home support policies enable growing numbers of elderly people to remain in their homes for as long as possible (Tomassini, Glaser, Wolf, Broese van Groenou and Grundy, 2004; Trabut and Gaymu, 2016). Therefore, in facing the expected demographic ageing process (Blanpain and Chardon, 2010; Eurostat, 2011; Gaymu, 2017), concerns are emerging about these policies’ financial capacity to meet most older people’s expectations of ageing in place (i.e., at home). Questions similarly arise concerning the degree to which future generations of family caregivers will be involved (Pickard, 2015; Colombo, Llena-Nozal, Mercier and Tjadens, 2011).
Much international research has focused on the articulation between family care and public care services for the dependent elderly. Most studies in Europe describe different response patterns in which the northern countries are characterised by “at distance care” from family members and strong state intervention, while those in the south are more familialist with a higher tendency towards multigenerational cohabitation (Reher, 1998; Fontaine, Gramain and Vittwer, 2007; Hank, 2007; Dystra and Fokkema, 2011; Peyrache and Ogg, 2017). Although the forms of intervention vary, the first providers of care throughout Europe are relatives (Daatland and Lowenstein, 2005; Delbès, 2008), who remain engaged even when professional structures or services are available…


The link between family care and public care services for dependent elderly people has been explored by many scholars, especially at the international level. Some works have led to typologies that distinguish northern from southern European countries by characterising the former as “intimacy at a distance” with strong state intervention and the latter as more familialist with a particularly high tendency towards multigenerational cohabitation. Because care policies are decentralised in France and the family contexts of ageing vary across different regions, this article transposes the analysis to a subnational level, based on census data and administrative registers of services and public assistance.

  • dependent elderly
  • family care
  • French departments
  • professional care
  • public policies

Le lien entre aide familiale et aide publique de soins pour les personnes âgées dépendantes a été étudié par de nombreux chercheurs, principalement à un niveau international. Certains travaux ont conduit à des typologies distinguant les pays du nord de l’Europe, caractérisés par une « intimité à distance » et une forte intervention de l’État, de ceux du sud, plus familialistes et ayant une tendance particulièrement forte à la cohabitation multigénérationnelle. Parce que les politiques de care sont décentralisées en France et que les contextes familiaux de vieillissement varient selon les différents territoires, nous proposons de transposer ce sujet au niveau infranational. Cet article s’appuie sur des données de recensement et des données administratives relatives au niveau des services et de l’aide publics.

  • départements français
  • personnes âgées dépendantes
  • prise en charge familiale
  • prise en charge professionnelle
  • politiques publiques
Loïc Trabut
Paris, INED
Alexandra Garabige
Joëlle Gaymu
Paris, INED
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