Saphir is a retirement home in Brussels, Belgium, where residents can benefit from culturally sensitive care. The care staff is of mixed origins and works with the residents and their families to integrate a cultural and religious dimension into the way care is provided.
Saphir is the first retirement home in Belgium to be explicitly inclusive. Opened in June 2022 by the French Korian group, the establishment takes into account a Brussels reality: the number of inhabitants over 65, and also over 80, will increase sharply by 2030. A large proportion of them, more than a third, are non-European migrants, mostly from Muslim backgrounds. In this context, Saphir seeks to address the mismatch between the residential care sector focused on the white Belgian senior and the increasingly diverse population.
Saphir is not a Muslim retirement home. Diversity is paramount. But every effort has been made to put first-generation migrants, from Muslim countries, at ease. For instance, all the floors are mixed, but one is reserved for Muslims. The reason for this is that migrant residents are mostly from the first generation, for whom the mother tongue comes first, who have little contact with society outside their own community. There, they can speak Arabic, they can go and pray. Just as they do at home.
The care staff is also mixed: there are Arabic-speaking carers, but equally African workers or with European roots.
The home is continuously trying to improve its services, through regular consultation with the family. And see what can be done, and what cannot be done.