Region/Countries: Europe, France Industry: Biosciences / Medical Devices, Other Date: March 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: In particular, devices and supplies for retirement homes are needed.

Figures published by the French National Statistical Office (INSEE) in March shows the population age 60 and up is growing rapidly due to the increase in the quality of life and better health, which have resulted in a longer life span—an average of 78.4 years for a Frenchman (73.6 years in 1994) and 84.8 years for women (81.3 years in 1994).

Population predictions for January 2050, if demographic trends remain as they are today, show that France will have 70 million inhabitants, with the following demographic breakdown:

  • One in three inhabitants will be 60 or older, compared to one in five in 2005.
  • There will be 22.3 million elderly people, compared to 12.6 million in 2005.
  • This represents an increase of 80% in 45 years.

In light of these figures, it will be necessary to respond with products and services to meet the increasing needs of this aging population for mobility, nutrition and health care over the next 10 to 20 years through offering new technological solutions as well as help in the home.

The sector most affected by these trends is retirement homes, known as EHPAD (Établissement d’Hébergement pour Personnes Âgées Dépendantes), whose residents often offer medical assistance as well. On Jan. 30, 2019, the main trade unions in this sector went on strike to denounce a lack of funding, and opposed the new tariffs imposed by the current Macron government.

A total of 728,000 people, with an average age of 85 years, are currently in EHPAD retirement homes. Of these residents, five-sixths benefit from a personal autonomy allowance (Allocation Personnalisée d’Autonomie, or APA) which is not subject to the level of past salary earnings, and more than one in six benefits from social residence help (Aide Social à l’Hébergement, or ASH). The average cost a resident has to pay is between €1,740 and €2,500—although it can go as highas €6,000 for specialized assistance—per month.

For potential Wisconsin suppliers, the best point of entry into this sector would be to penetrate the private commercial and privately run nonprofit EHPADs, which make up 56% of the market, and which run 1,749 and 2,942 establishments respectively. The EHPADs that need the most equipment and services are situated in the major cites and towns, rather than in the country.

Products and equipment needed include both consumables and non-consumables, and cover a wide range of products: wheelchairs, ambulatory devices, specialized chairs and armchairs, beds, bedside tables, adaptive cutlery, food trolleys, personal hygiene protection, disposable clothing and equipment, pill dispensers and hospital devices. Wisconsin suppliers of such products should explore this market opportunity.