The article is based on a qualitative survey conducted in the four departments of Brittany on the role of local councillors in policies for the elderly. It highlights an evolution in the way these actors conceive their role in these policies. Previously, the main illustration of an old age policy in a municipality was the presence on its territory of a residential care facility for the elderly (EHPADs), of which the mayors were presidents of the board of directors. However, elected municipal officials have seen their room for manœuvre in the management of these establishments reduced as a result of the regulatory instruments introduced by the law of 2 January 2002 and then by the law on adapting society to ageing of 2015, which illustrate the bureaucratisation of old age policy. Beyond the usual strategies for circumventing public action instruments, the survey highlights an attempt by local elected officials to reformulate the issues at stake in old age policy in order to safeguard their political role. By substituting the senior citizen or the elderly person for the dependent elderly person, they take a cross-sectional approach to ageing. From then on, it was no longer just a matter of maintaining EHPADs subject to national rules, but of developing an integrated policy on ageing at the municipal level. Far from marking a break with the national level, these attempts at reformulation can be based on the notion of a shift to the home, which has its rightful place at the central level.
Hélène Croguennec-Le Saout
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