Groupe BPCE was a partner of the second Assises des Aidants, a Caregivers Conference staged on October 6th and attended by two hundred participants who focused on the issue of “Caregivers still pursuing a professional activity: from double punishment to status enhancement.”
This conference – which was attended by Sophie Cluzel, French Minister of State for Disabled People, and Brigitte Bourguignon, Minister Delegate for Personal Independence, attached to the Minister for Solidarity and Health – provided an opportunity to contribute to the public debate on this issue of general public interest and to formulate concrete proposals to help improve the working and living conditions of family caregivers.
Today in France, 15 million people are caregivers* and 73% of them are working people. It is not an easy matter to combine this essential role of providing care to a loved one while pursuing a professional activity… a complex situation that the Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated still further!
Supporting major changes in society
The fundamental role played by caregivers in society is insufficiently recognized, as is the need to provide concrete solutions capable of simplifying their lives. “In its capacity as a cooperative banking group, the second largest bank for individual customers and the leading banking partner for individuals subject to legal protection, Groupe BPCE is committed to helping caregivers, in line with its tradition of supporting major changes in society,” said Christine Fabresse, Deputy CEO of Groupe BPCE, in the conference’s inaugural session. “We are taking very concrete steps to support them and, more broadly, we are working alongside all the players in the healthcare sector, a role that we will continue to strengthen in the years to come.”
Publication of groundbreaking work
Groupe BPCE's commitment takes on different forms.
At the beginning of the year, the research carried out by BPCE l’Observatoire: Le temps des Aidants (Time for Caregivers) provided us with a better understanding of the pathways taken by caregivers and their living conditions, the scale and diversity of their contribution, and the place they occupy in our society. “On the financial question, our Observatoire study revealed that 59% of the caregivers included in the survey settle expenses or provide the person in their care with financial support, and 27% do so on a regular basis,” emphasized Alain Tourdjman, Director of Research & Prospective Studies, Groupe BPCE. Another sobering fact is that the foreseeable decline in retirees’ standard of living, by 15% to 20% by 2050, is expected to be offset, in part, by additional support from caregivers and an increase in the scale of cash transfers, raising the crucial question of how the financial burden should be shared between people suffering from diminished autonomy, their caregivers, and the wider community.
Six priorities for action
The Banques Populaires and Caisses d'Epargne have identified six priorities for action: ending the isolation of family caregivers and supporting them on a daily basis; enabling caregivers to reconcile their personal and professional lives; providing financing solutions to adapt the homes of care recipients in line with their loss of autonomy and facilitate their mobility; taking action to improve the health of family caregivers; providing support, in particular, for young caregivers (under 25 years of age); and increasing and diversifying solutions that provide caregivers with a moment of respite. Concrete actions and solutions will be implemented in areas such as health, housing, and help in managing personal finances. Ultimately, a customized pathway will be provided for each caregiver profile, and services will be set in place tailored to care recipients’ individual situations.
A Group that helps its caregivers
Another aspect that Groupe BPCE, one of France's largest employers, is duty-bound to consider is, of course, the need to support its own employees who provide care to their loved ones. Along with its member companies, the Group has set up a collective approach, which won it 1st Prize in the 5th edition of the Prix Entreprise & Salariés Aidants (the Company & Caregiver Employees Prize) last September. This approach takes account simultaneously of the organization of work, the material and financial impacts, the career and employment of the caregiver, and psychological support.
*A caregiver is any (non-professional) person who provides assistance to a loved one experiencing difficulties in his or her daily life owing to infirmity, disability or old age. It may take the form of assistance in daily life acts, or material, financial or moral support. This assistance is provided at least once a week and for at least three hours weekly.