There’s a lively debate going on both in Government circles and the Conseil National about elderly care. It’s a subject that will come increasingly to the forefront as the Monégasque population ages. The signs point to a quarter of the country’s residents being over 70 years old within two decades. That projection is confirmed by IMSEE.
So the question is what sort of special residences are needed to care for an increasingly dependent population.
Some studies suggest well over 350 more nursing home beds will be needed by 2050. That will take coordinated planning of new buildings.
Moves are afoot to start the process. Soon, a nursing home with 140 rooms could be taking root in the Jardin Exotique neighbourhood in Monaco. The Princely Government has confirmed to the elected members of the National Council the identification of a site at the western entrance of the Principality for the construction of a medical facility with 140 rooms.
Fuel for a good debate. Not everyone buys the concept of a site near the Jardin Exotique even if it has good access from the Moyenne Corniche and would be conveniently placed near Princess Grace hospital. Would the inhabitants be too isolated there socially is the concern.
As for the building, it would mainly be in Monégasque territory while allowing logistical aspects to flow over onto land in France, necessitating coordination with the neighbouring country.
The question of a major expansion in nursing homes has to be balanced against a trend for taking care of the elderly within their own homes. The policy implemented by the princely government, in collaboration with Monaco’s gerontology sector and the Department of Action and Social Aid, has strengthened measures to enable the elderly to remain at home. The COVID-19 health crisis has amplified the trend towards home care rather than institutional admission. Better monitoring and support at home for the elderly and their families is a key part of the future planning.
Elderly individuals often wish to stay at home for as long as possible. When they need to move to a facility, it’s because they have reached dependency levels that are too high for nursing home standards. In reality, Monaco needs establishments with specialized long-stay units. These units are much more medically oriented than nursing home structures.
Long stay units versus nursing homes; the former is where the focus is being increased. As of now in the Principality, only the Rainier-III center offers a long-term care unit within its walls. If 140 new rooms for the elderly are added in the Jardin Exotique district will the medical facilities be tilted toward supporting long-term care or be more typical of nursing home support? The full details have yet to be debated.
Individuals requiring institutionalization are increasingly dependent beyond the capacity of typical nursing homes to cope. Development of long-term care units like those of the Rainier-III Center are key. Consequently, Christophe Robino, Minister of Health and Social Affairs has requested the updating of an actuarial study to allow the refinement of public policy in this area.
Meanwhile the earmarking of land near the Jardin Exotique for an extra 140 units for the elderly is a measure in line with the needs of a growing elderly segment of the Monégasque population.