The coronavirus hits the elderly hard, who are vulnerable to the disease. However, beyond the pandemic, it is also loneliness and boredom that are slowly killing people, as this moving and fair documentary tells.
The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the elderly hard. They are also a priority in the government's vaccination plan: voluntary vaccination in nursing homes continues until the end of January 2021. This in order to be able to receive visits more calmly, which are now authorized again. Because if there is one thing that people living in nursing homes are sorely lacking, it is human contact and warmth. Initiatives have flourished to try to remedy this, from the hug bubble to letters from strangers.
However, this remains hard for the elderly, for whom the coronavirus pandemic has worsened an already complicated situation for nursing homes. A beautiful documentary on Arte tells the story of such an establishment during the first wave, and gives an account of the difficulties caused by the lack of human and financial resources.
"We cannot be happy in an EHPAD. We can have small pleasures but be happy…"
Director Éric Guéret and his team immersed themselves in the daily life of a Parisian EHPAD during the first wave of the coronavirus. We see the states that residents and caregivers are going through at the heart of the health crisis. This film is also an opportunity to document the living conditions in these places, which have deteriorated due to staff shortages, lack of funding or problematic management. Residences where caregivers do everything in their power to overcome this, by caring for residents with kindness and remembering the origins of their profession: care.
Caregivers and nurses struggle with the constant lack of time. One of them relates that in the old days the night shift handed out herbal teas and cookies as a little ritual to fall asleep. Today that has been removed and residents are taking many more sleeping pills. Another says the other major cause of death: "There is a lady who died, she was not covid, it was more lonely because since they were in their room and they couldn't see anyone."
The words are harsh behind the smiles of the residents: thus Mr. Le Coz who says: “We cannot be happy in a nursing home. We can have small pleasures, but be happy…”.
This poignant documentary shows the importance of the human bond and of caring for those among the most vulnerable in this pandemic: the elderly. The greatness of a nation is judged by the way the weak are treated, it is said; maybe there is something wrong with ours.