in search of gray gold

in search of gray gold
in search of gray gold

If Europe is called the Old Continent, this also applies to its population. Life expectancy is increasing and experts say it: almost one in three Europeans will be over 65 in 2050. A projection which raises the question of the care of the elderly. And in particular the issues of dependency and access to care, with their financing in the background: expenses linked to the elderly are increasing, so much so that they could represent up to 30% of European GDP by 2070.

In recent years, more and more countries have delegated the supervision of seniors to private companies in order to reduce public finances. Three French multinationals currently share the European market: Orpea (newly Emeis), Korian (now Clariane) and Domusvi. The documentary Hold-up on the old people, directed by Laurence Delleur and Nathalie Amsellem, offers a dive into the heart of the silver economy, where the care of the elderly comes up against commercial and financial pressure.

International expansion

Rich in sources and testimonies, the documentary gives voice to elderly people and their families, but also to caregivers and directors of nursing homes or shared residences. They all tell heartbreaking stories about the care of seniors: isolation, malnutrition, dehydration, lack of care… Mistreatment which results from a new organization of work: less care and fewer staff for more profit.

The documentary follows the expansion of these multinationals abroad, such as in Spain or the United Kingdom, where they diversify their offers. In Germany, for example, many home help agencies have been created to support seniors who prefer their homes to retirement homes. They recruit care workers from Eastern Europe, unqualified and underpaid, whose living conditions look like “modern slavery”. Under the eyes of doctors, lawyers, economists and unions, this documentary takes stock of this booming sector, which is gaining ground as it seeks at all costs “these deposits of gray gold”.

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