Who doesn’t dream of a vacation during a long work week? Do you really have to work to have the right to go on vacation? Contrary to some preconceived ideas, all citizens have the right to go on vacation, and to enjoy moments of rest and leisure outside of their daily lives.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen guarantees this right in its article 24, added in 1948: “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure”. In France, this first statement of the right to vacations as a time of rest and leisure will be reinforced with article 140 of the Law of July 29, 1998 relating to the fight against exclusion: “Equal access for all, throughout life, to culture, sports, vacations and leisure is a national objective. It guarantees the effective exercise of citizenship.
The words “throughout life” therefore guarantee the right to vacations for all citizens, whatever their age. However, in France, 4 million elderly people do not go on vacation. Older people need to get away for a while, especially since many suffer from loneliness all year long and should not be deprived of this opportunity because of their age, their lack of resources, or their frailty and loss of autonomy.
Petits Frères des Pauvres France has been working to guarantee this essential right since 1974 by organizing vacation stays for the most underprivileged seniors, according to their desires and their pace. Some of the people supported by the organization have not been on vacation for several decades, or are discovering the sea for the first time thanks to the holidays organized by the organization! Similarly, the organizations Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly LBFE in the United States, Amigos de los Mayores in Mexico, Idősek Barátai in Hungary, all offer vacation stays or summer getaways to the elderly they support in order to offer this possibility to all elderly people.
Petits Frères des Pauvres has found that vacations are a real benefit for the elderly supported by the organization and bring additional physical and mental well-being to the seniors.
By advocating for the right to vacation for the elderly, PFP takes part in the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing.
Photo credit: Amigos de los Mayores