Morningside House welcomes French cabinet member

High-ranking members of the French national government visited Morningside House on Pelham Parkway to learn more about elder care in America as their own country experiences a massive reform on how they deal with aging.

Led by Roselyne Bachelot-Nariquin, a cabinet-level member of the French government, the group visited Morningside House at 1000 Pelham Parkway South on Friday, February 25, along with New York State and national leaders at AARP, on a fact-finding mission exploring different approaches to the dealing with the aging population.

Bachelot-Nariquin has just been placed in charge of an initiative that will reform the entire elder care system in France, which covers 80% of the costs for elder care.

Dr. William Smith, the president and CEO of Morningside House welcomed Bachelot-Nariquin to a luncheon where they spoke of the differences between the French and American approaches to caring for the aging, and then toured Morningside house after learning more about an American approach to elder care.

“I am very eager to see how other governments handle elder care,” Bachelot-Nariquin said through a translator. “I am sure that while I am here we are going to pick up some useful ideas here in elder care, and perhaps you will take away some ideas too.”

Morningside House is moving away from long-term care by cutting the number of beds in their nursing home and selecting a model that focuses more on short-term rehabilitation, allowing the elderly to go home sooner, Smith said to Bachelot-Nariquin.

Hosting foreign heads of state is nothing new to Morningside House, Smith said, and in the last three years the nursing home and rehabilitative care center has had visitors tour from Japan, China and England.

“We are here to talk with Minister Bachelot-Nariquin about when we do when we discharge people, put them in supportive settings, and how the family is supported once the elder is discharged and goes onto to live independently,” Smith said. “We hope that she is able to take away some ideas that will be useful as the president of France redesigns how that country handles elder care.”

Susan Reinhard, senior vice president at AARP’s Public Policy Institute in Washington D.C., explained at the luncheon how their organization is working to make sure that social workers and nurses learn to care not just for the elderly person, but also for caregivers who are often family and friends, as elder care moves more out of nursing homes and into the homes of seniors who want to live independently for as long as possible.

“AARP at the state and local level is working hard to make sure that older people and their families have as many options as possible,” Reinhard said in her remarks. “We are trying to move away from a model that was just steering people towards nursing homes and institutions.”

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