“Where are you going on vacation this summer?” … This is simply THE question that people who are even slightly interested in you naturally ask.
And yet! How can you not feel even more on the fringe of society when you don’t have or no longer have access to vacations for financial reasons, loss of autonomy or simply because you are isolated and elderly.
This is the situation experienced and suffered by many isolated people accompanied by the French association of the Petits Frères des Pauvres.
To be able to go on vacation, that is to say to be able to have a real break in one’s daily life, especially when this one is made up of many “obstacles”, is vital for the human being. Everyone should be able to take advantage of this essential time to recharge his or her batteries, which are vacations.
In France, the law of July 29, 1998 on the fight against exclusion has enshrined this principle by recalling that “equal access for all, throughout life, to culture, sports, vacations and leisure, is a national objective. It allows to guarantee the effective exercise of citizenship”.
It is this right to vacation that the French organization of the Little Brothers of the Poor defends, by making it possible for those who are prevented from doing so to “get away”, to “break away from everyday life”. Each year, nearly 3,000 isolated elderly people benefit from this program.
The association, with the help of its donors and thanks to the action of its volunteers, financially supports the departure on vacation, in connection with the institutional partners whenever possible. The volunteers also find adapted solutions to guarantee the continuity of care and assistance for people with a loss of autonomy, and solve problems related to transportation and travel.
“Vacations allow me to get out of the prison that is my solitude” concludes René, 87 years old, who has been accompanied by the organization for 3 years.
Photo credit: Petits Frères des Pauvres