What is the beguinage, this economical, secure and friendly alternative to placement in an Ehpad?

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At a time when nursing homes are increasingly decried, many families are looking for an alternative for their loved ones who are losing their autonomy. In rural areas in particular, the beguinage is a solution that attracts more and more followers with modest incomes.

The concept is as old as the world. “The beguinages developed from the XIIIth century in northern Europe, indicates the state information portal for the elderly and their relatives. They designated a grouping of individual dwellings and common buildings within an enclosed space. Religious communities of women, the beguines, resided there.” The latter lived in a community sharing certain services, while staying in individual apartments.

The revival of a vanished model

“Today there are several thousand beguinages in Belgium or Germany. But, in France, they had almost disappeared”, indicates in Le Figaro real estate Paul de Rochebouët, president of the association Esprit Béguinage and manager of the land company which ensures the financial arrangement of several projects in France.

In recent years, this concept has been redeveloped to meet the needs of older people. “Beguinages consist on average of 10 to 20 single-storey private dwellings, designed for aging people with mobility difficulties“, details the National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy (CNSA).

An economic concept with a “friendly and secure” framework

The State portal also details the elements contributing to providing these beguinages with a “safe and friendly” environment: “presence of shops, immediate proximity to neighbours, housing adapted to the loss of economy, sharing of common spaces and services .”

In its report devoted to the subject, Le Figaro immobilier also underlines the economic attraction of beguinages. “The dwellings, of a surface between 45 and 65 m², are rented between 320 and 500 euros per month, advances the specialized media. Added to this is a monthly contribution from the coordinator, an employee whose vocation is to coordinate the life of the place and ensure that the inhabitants are well, from 120 to 150 € per accommodation.

A model adapted to rurality

To finance these sums, the elderly can benefit from housing assistance at home as well as the personalized autonomy allowance.

Available everywhere, the model of the beguinage is particularly established In a rural area, where many elderly people want to live, far from nursing homes and other specialized establishments. To find out if a beguinage for the elderly exists near you, local information points are available.

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