Growing social exclusion of older people – Two French reports sound the alarm and call for political action


On 1st October, International Day of Older Persons, the French Commissioner on Rights released a report providing an updated overview of discrimination based on old age and the difficulties faced by older people (65+) to access services in their daily life.

This study is based on a telephone survey of 2,506 people aged 65 or over living at home and an interview survey conducted with 15 carers of older people with a loss of autonomy, between September and the end of November 2020.

The results question the place of older people in our societies and invite us to put old age discrimination back at the heart of public debates and policies. They highlight the need to change the way we look at old age so that older people, in all their diversity, remain fully entitled to their rights.

Some findings in terms of…

Access to rights:

  • Difficulties in carrying out administrative tasks (reported by nearly 25% of 65+). In particular for people in a situation of dependence, financial insecurity or in a situation of digital skills illiteracy.
  • Dehumanisation of relations with public services and the loss of social links.
  • Renunciation of rights: 15% of older people say that they have given up on administrative problems, due to the barriers they experienced.


30% of people aged 65+ stated that they had witnessed discrimination related to old age during their lives and 17% said that they had been a victim of such discrimination in the last five years. The situations of discrimination reported most often concern public transport, relations with public services or access to private goods and services (banks, insurance, etc.).

Discrimination based on age is rarely exclusive; health, origin and precariousness criteria are also frequently reported.

Due to a lack of information, awareness or support, the discrimination suffered by the 65+ is difficult to fully recognise. As such, they are too often minimised by the older people themselves, who do not always perceive their illegitimate nature.

Access the report (in French)

French barometer on old age isolation

The International Day of Older Persons is also the opportunity for the Petits Frères des Pauvres to alert on the urgent need to make the fight against isolation in older age a priority in public policies to support independent living and ageing well.

In the 5th edition of their annual study, the organization takes stock of a significant and alarming increase of loneliness and isolation of older people in France in the last four years. Some of the main factors for isolation is the loss of close human contacts, the rapid digitalization and the increase in precariousness.

Read the report (in French)

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