Empowering the elderly to speak out about their experiences: The Old People’s Counter-Salon opens in Paris

A weekend event at the Hall des Blancs Manteaux in Paris, in the 4th arrondissement, is the talk of the town. Since Friday, the first edition of the “Anti-Old Age Salon” has been held. It is organized by CNAV: the National Self-Proclaimed Council on Aging, a citizen movement that wants to give a voice to the elderly on their daily lives and make them actors in public policies that concern them.

Upon entering the hall, there are about thirty stands of collectives and associations linked to old age. Upstairs, conferences with professionals are held on different subjects such as housing, access to culture, end of life, and some aim to break taboos, particularly one on sexuality.

The name of the salon is provocative and intentionally so, as it is a response to senior citizen salons that annoy Francis Carrier, one of the organizers. He wishes to “finally give a voice to the elderly on what they experience and what they expect.” Carrier emphasizes that “the old have the capacity to speak for themselves and express themselves as long as they are given the space.”

This message seems to have resonated, particularly with 72-year-old Mireille, who believes it is time for the elderly to take control of their lives and not wait to be placed in nursing homes. Visitors are looking for information, such as 63-year-old Véronique, who is interested in learning more about shared housing, among other things. 75-year-old Maggy highlights the importance of elderly people being visible and not isolated.

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