Skip to main content

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

A postman of French postal service company La Poste distributes letters using an electrically-assisted bicycle in Vertou, France, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe - RC1D3F2A3F00
A La Poste postman on his daily route.
Image: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

While we’re living longer, not everyone is living healthier and happier lives – and many countries are struggling to look after an increasingly lonely, ageing population.
By 2050, it’s predicted that more than a quarter of people in France (20 million) will be aged 65 and over, as women are expected to live to 90 and men to 87.

But the country has come up with a unique way of catering to the needs of its elderly, while enabling them to remain living in their own homes.
Image: Insee
Mail workers for the French postal service La Poste are being paid to pop in on elderly people on a weekly basis, before sending updates to concerned relatives.
Called Veiller Sur Mes Parents (watch over my parents), the service costs from 19.90 euros ($22.50) a month and includes a weekly visit and report, as well as a monthly personalized newsletter made from family messages and photos the post worker prints out.
There’s also a 24-hour helpline available as part of a second, more expensive package.
Solving two problems
The service started in May 2017 as a way of tackling two issues: an annual drop of 5% in the amount of mail meaning less work for France’s 73,000 postal workers, and the rise of the ageing population.
But the idea came about following a heatwave.
“We first thought of it a few years ago when city halls called on us to pay a visit to the elderly during a heatwave,” Eric Baudrillard, customer services director at La Poste told Vice News. “They were worried and asked us to check if everything was OK with the old people. And we thought, why can’t we do it all the time?”
France’s ageing population
Image: Statista
Some 6,000 seniors are using the service, aged between 82 and 98 – often paid for by their 50-something children living miles away in cities.
France already offers similar schemes, which are paid for by local councils, including medicines and groceries being delivered and books brought from the library.


Popular posts from this blog

7 eating habits that we know are good for us:

1. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits – Some countries are very specific about the number of servings of fruits and vegetables that we should consume daily, for example Greece says six, Costa Rica and Iceland say five. Canada even specifies the colors of vegetables to consume (one dark green and one orange vegetable a day). Serving sizes can vary by country; however, all guidelines recommend eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

2. Watch your intake of fats– Said in different ways, most guidelines make mention of reducing solid, saturated fats and give recommendations for replacing animal fats with vegetable oils. In Greece, olive oil is recommended, in Viet Nam it is sesame or peanut oil – demonstrating the importance of availability and cultural preference in each country’s guidelines.3. Cut back on foods and beverages high in sugar – It is generally agreed upon that processed sugar is harmful to our health. The guidelines in every country recommend to maint…

Humans are a massive minority on Earth. Why don't we act like it?

Humans are a massive minority on Earth. Why don't we act like it?

Most of us, including scientists, are blind to the full scope of the living world. This was illustrated by an informal survey which asked biologists and ecologists from elite universities two questions. In terms of mass, is the living world mostly composed of animals, plants or bacteria? And is there more global biomass on land or in the oceans? The majority of them answered both questions incorrectly.In an age of unparalleled access to information, this is a glaring gap in our knowledge. We are now equipped to close it. I joined colleagues from the Weizmann Institute in Israel and the California Institute of Technology to estimate the biomass of all kingdoms of life on Earth. The results were published in the journal of the American National Academy of Sciences, and were widely (and more digestibly) covered by the popular press.It required years of work, collecting and integrating information from hundreds of previ…

Chart of the day: These countries create most of the world’s CO2 emissions

With CO2 levels on the rise, being able to track global emissions is crucial. Image: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau Just two countries, China and the US, are responsible for more than 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions. With CO2 levels still on the rise, being able to track the global emissions hotspots is becoming more important than ever. Before the industrial revolution, levels of atmospheric CO2 were around 280 parts per million (ppm). By 2013, that level had breached the 400ppm mark for the first time. On 3 June 2019 it stood at 414.40ppm. Fifteen countries are responsible for more than two thirds of global CO2 emissions. Image: Visual Capitalist There are huge disparities between the world’s top 15 CO2 emissions-generating countries. China creates almost double the emissions of second-placed US, which is in turn responsible for more than twice the level of third-placed India.