Living and ageing at home: how can ageing be combined with regional dynamics?

May 2022

Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires (ANCT)

An ageing region in decline, the Vosges is the oldest department in Lorraine, and the municipality of Xertigny is experiencing a decline in its population. The town has chosen to focus on the diversity of accommodation on offer for the elderly.

An ageing region

At the level of the Epinal conurbation, INSEE projections forecast a decline in the population and an increase in the proportion of senior citizens, which is expected to reach 32% in 2027, compared with 25.1% in 2013. The heart of the conurbation (Epinal-Golbey-Chantraine), with a population of 43,688, is home to the main jobs and facilities. The rest of the area, which is more heterogeneous, is organised around outlying urban centres and local rural centres. Against this backdrop, some communities, such as Xertigny, are involved in senior housing projects.

Xertigny is a rural town with a population of 2,628 (INSEE 2016), located in the south of the Vosges department. It is a member of the Communauté d’Agglomérations d’Epinal, which comprises 78 communes and a population of 116,332. An ageing and declining area, the Vosges department is the oldest in Lorraine, and the municipality of Xertigny is experiencing a decline in its population. The town’s declining industrial past contributes to this dynamic.

Xertigny is committed to a policy of revitalising its market town (it won the « revitalisation of market town centres » award in 2018), and has recently built a new EHPAD to provide the best possible care for the region’s senior citizens. The old EHPAD is at the heart of a redevelopment project, which could involve intergenerational housing.

Residential pathways and strategies implemented by senior citizens

The research has enabled us to put the life courses of older people into perspective with the strategies and spatial planning projects implemented by the players involved (elected representatives, technicians, associations, etc.). Analysis of the life courses of older people has shed light on their representations and experiences of the area and their ‘home’. Interviews with stakeholders reveal that they view the residential trajectories of senior citizens from a linear perspective and through the prism of local issues such as property vacancy. As a result, there is a discrepancy between these perceived residential trajectories and the actual lives of older people.

The research shows that the challenge lies in the diversity of the residential offer (support for homecare, development of intermediate housing, EHPAD) for senior citizens. The research is being carried out by Elsa Martin, a regional sociologist, Frederic Balard, a sociologist of ageing, and Johan Freichel, a research engineer.


Specific features

The issue of housing for the elderly is at the heart of the research and is linked to that of regional planning.


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