Warm weather, brilliant sunshine and the aroma of wisteria welcomed the local Anglo community to the Grange in Mouans-Sartoux for the launch of Riviera Lifeline on 27th April, and as guests enjoyed generous hors d’oeuvres and free-flowing refreshments, president of the organisation Deborah Corley spoke about its mission.
Previously part of Sunny Bank, a charity that has been helping Anglophone residents of the Côte d’Azur since the 19th century, Riviera Lifeline has now set out on its own, differentiating the services they provide. While Sunny Bank offers in-house assisted living, Riviera Lifeline provides assistance to seniors in their homes, working to ensure they stay active, healthy and independent.
According to Deborah, the goal of the launch was to get the word out about the services they offer the community and to gain support through increased membership and volunteers.
“Old people aren’t sexy,” she said to Riviera Insider in a reference to the fact that talking about senior’s needs often doesn’t get the attention it should.
The organisation has plenty of funds to help people, but they need more volunteers to offer their time and expertise, she continued to explain. Riviera Lifeline covers an area from the Var to the Italian border, and can usually respond to requests within a day. It offers a wide range of assistance, from helping with food shopping to walking a dog after an injury or financial assistance in buying a hearing aid. The organisation also helps with more involved issues like negotiating with landlords to refit a bathroom for mobility issues. Some of the cases can require complicated legal assistance for surviving spouses, and Riviera Lifeline can be there to provide language assistance with French paperwork and help retirees know their rights regarding French and UK pensions. Sometimes someone may simply need a little support to stretch their fixed monthly budget: “You’d be surprised the number of people we pay €30 per month to help with their electric bill.”
Deborah was clear to emphasise that their support is non-denominational, non-judgmental and though they focus on Anglophones 60 years and over, they will assist any nationality in need: “We will help anybody.”
Riviera Lifeline is always looking for more volunteers, especially someone who would like to call and have chat with a lonely senior. Deborah pointed out that loneliness is the biggest problem in old age, and a simple phone call can make a great difference in someone’s life. If you would like to volunteer, or know someone who needs assistance, visit the website for more information.