In Lyon, the Chez Daddy café recreates links between generations

In Lyon, the Chez Daddy café recreates links between generations

At the back of the room, the hollow voice of Tony, 75, resonates: “Since you ask me my name, Cyclops, I’ll tell you!” » Installed on his stool, this seasoned storyteller passionately declaims the adventures of Ulysses, in The odyssey, in front of her small audience: Manon, 21 years old and Marine, 26 years old, but also Françoise, Guy and Marcelle, all three retired. Between two board games and glasses of lemonade, these septuagenarians came to shelter from the sun beating down on the Croix-Rousse plateau, in the city center of Lyon (Rhône), on this late Tuesday heatwave in September. All are regulars at Chez Daddy. This café, which looks like a cheerful tavern, attracts dozens of retirees every day looking for a moment of conviviality. Recipe ? “A welcome like at home and non-stop activities,” explains Éveline, 74 years old. Once a week, she makes the trip from Villeurbanne, in the Lyon suburbs, to meet friends: “At our age, I don’t know of any other places where we can, with complete confidence, go out, mingle with others and have fun like anyone else. »

Countering “social death”

According to the latest report from the Little Brothers of the Poor, 530,000 people aged 60 or over are in a situation of “social death”, often because of distance from their family and friends; both in town and in the countryside. An emergency which challenged Philippe Albanel five years ago. At the head of his home help agency Daddy and You, he makes an observation: “For the majority of our beneficiaries, the carer represented the only human contact of the day. Isolation is both the cause and consequence of their problems. But we were too late to change things. » How to act upstream? Ideas came together to give birth, in 2020, to the Chez Daddy concept: a café made for seniors but managed by a young team, in order to maintain social connections as long as possible. Françoise, 74 years old, is one of the first members. “During my husband’s illness, then at the time of bereavement, I needed support but those around me were far away: I found a second family there who helped me not to sink,” she says. , still moved.

Because Chez Daddy intends to be, more than a place, a real community. Each volunteer member becomes a “Daddy’s”: he can then manage the café during the weekend, join the group of “Talented”, who pass on their know-how, or that of “Party people and creatives” who organize events. “A way to make people understand that elders are still useful in society,” explains Marie, 21, a work-study student and head of the establishment. This afternoon, Zoubida, 46, can learn to paint under the watchful eye of Done, a retired occupational therapist who, for the first time, shares her love for the visual arts.

More than sixty activities

The café offers around sixty activities ranging from knitting to philosophy, including yoga for the most flexible and musical awakening for the youngest. “Here, it’s not like elsewhere: we’re not afraid to approach new generations,” Rolland jokes half-heartedly.

The daytime program mainly attracts retirees, but they are joined by families on Wednesday afternoons or by young adults when the café turns into a bar on Thursday evenings. Of the 3,500 members, 60% are under 60 and 40% are seniors.

To reach those who feel further away, due to a physical incapacity or a psychological blockage, partnerships have been established with neighborhood establishments, such as the Canuts nursing home, and municipal action centers. social security of the different districts. “We also offer personalized follow-up with a call schedule, but most members do it naturally,” rejoices Philippe Albanel.

While public authorities have long focused their efforts on taking care of the dependency of the elderly, he believes in socialization as “prevention”. While waiting to create its own residences – in particular to solidify the economic model of the association, today based on subsidies – Chez Daddy is multiplying its impact through a growing network: after the opening of a second place the year last, in Lyon, the team plans to open 13 new cafes in Rhône-Alpes, from 2024.

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