Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly

From the government’s website on aging

One of our local newspapers had an article entitled, “How much does it cost to be old in France?” so I just had to read that. With homage to Ethel Merman’s character Annie Oakley on Broadway, aging just seemed to me to be a natural process with no admission charge. However, if you want to stay for the whole show you have to pay the price which depends on where you sit from the orchestra to the balcony. It also depends if you are like 85% of the French who say that they want to spend their retirement years at home rather than moving to group living arrangements or to a medical facility. A website that specializes in banking and insurance for seniors ( teamed with another site that helps people live and age well at home (Silver Alliance) to calculate the costs.

People were divided into 3 groups: age 65 to 75, age 75 to 85, and over age 85 and twenty-five different products and services available to all groups were studied. While recurring costs such as rent, utilities, and food were excluded, fees for items such as top-up medical insurance (mutuelle), domestic helpers, and home medical equipment were part of the study. Based on a 30-year timespan, the average additional amount an individual would spend to stay at home would be 12,641€ per year or 1,053€ per month. (Approximately $1,278 monthly).

To better understand how that average was derived, the report explains how expenses were allocated across the 3 groups:

From our travels to Monpazier, France

Age 65 to 75—the main expense would be for extra health insurance plus assistance, if desired, with house cleaning and gardening. Entertainment and travel charges should also be considered for this still socially active age group.

Age 75 to 85—top up health insurance remains the major cost while vacation/travel expenses decrease for people who become more sedentary. Domestic help becomes more necessary.

Age 85 and up—dependence on others moves to the forefront. Visiting nurses, delivered meals, and night care become the norm. Subscription to an emergency alert service is undertaken.

According to this study, the average monthly pension in France is 1,382€. For those who are physically unable to stay at home the cost of an EHPAD retirement home in our area averages around 1,700€ per month. A link to the government’s website for seniors who wish to remain autonomous is below.

The complete “Cost of Being Old” report can be found at this website:

This is a pdf of the article if the link does not work :Combien ça coûte d’être vieux en France _ –

Senior Autonomy:

7 thoughts on “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly

  1. Thanks for the great post on the cost of ‘aging in place’ in France. Very useful info, and well presented, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Glenda, for your kind words. While Bill and I wait to restart our travels around France, it’s nice to find articles right here from home to share.


  2. hi, Bob, I always enjoy your posts. I arrived in / moved to France permanently Sept.2018 from the US, and have had no regrets. At age 77 now, this year will be my 3rd Carte de Sejour. Wondering if the benefits you found in this article are available for my kind of residency? (pension??) I have the Carte Vitale and mutuelle, FR drivers license (traded with my State), and do submit tax forms to France…. And interestingly, I have been wondering what, if any, French (financial, housing, etc) assistance I might get, say in 5 or more years, if my mobility or financial situation changes — remaining a US Citizen, but residence in France. Do you know, or can you direct me?

    Thanks for all your help and good info, and fun travel blogs! meredith hart


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Meredith. Our answer to your question is based on our experience. As far as we know, as long as you legally reside in France, you are entitled to all other benefits that citizens can receive except for the ability to vote. For example, we received a government-sponsored rebate for buying an e-bike and we benefit from a reduced-rate Senior Citizens bus pass for our area. On the other hand, to obtain our annual Carte de Séjour to legally remain in the country, we must prove that we have ample financial resources to avoid being a burden on the French taxpayers. Generally that means having an annual income in excess of the French minimum wage. For citizens, we believe that the trigger point for receiving housing assistance, for example, is that minimum wage. Logically then, because we must always have an income above the minimum wage, as non-citizens we would never qualify for financial aid. Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask more questions.


  3. Hmmm. I don’t know how this makes me feel as I rapidly approach my “golden” years, but we all need to face reality at some point. It’s sad that for so many the cost of being old is more than they can afford. Some sobering thinking for the last day of February. Spring will soon spring! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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