The “La Mèche d’argent” residence is a 90-seat EHPAD with 15 seats in a secure unit for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related diseases. Located in Coucy-leChâteau (Aisne), this EHPAD was installed in 2017 in new, modern and functional premises, whose surroundings, undeveloped, are however not very attractive. With the help of the LEADER program, the establishment will be able to develop several attractive spaces, conducive to intergenerational exchanges and social connection: – a garden with senior and children’s equipment, shaded spaces, vegetable gardens, etc. – an interior courtyard with furniture and pergolas to host cultural events; – a shop space with bistro tables and floral arrangements to host local producers and exhibitions for residents and residents of the municipality. The project, which is led by a care team and an animation team whose values are the well-being of the resident, his quality of life, but also strong values of sharing, is an opportunity to open the establishment to the outside world and to re-create social ties after the shock of successive lockdowns that have hit the EHPADs and their residents hard.

Presentation of project

La Mèche d’argent residence is a 90-seat EHPAD with 15 seats in a secure unit for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related diseases. Originally located in the upper town of Coucy-le-Château-Auffrique (Aisne, 992 inhabitants), close to the medieval fortress, with all the dynamics of the center-bourg and cultural activities, the residence moved in September 2017. Now located in the lower city, residents cannot go out as freely as they used to. In addition, while the new premises are more modern and functional, improvements were needed to make them more attractive to both residents and visitors. The EHPAD, whose establishment project emphasizes a desire for openness, has therefore decided to create 3 outdoor living spaces to offer friendly and secure reception areas: · At the back, the residence has a soulless garden, naked with a few benches. Until now, residents did not want to go there, because of the lack of attractiveness of this place, but also because of the difficulty of access. The project thus provided for the creation of a relaxation area (creation of shadow areas), discovery, sharing around plants and animals, 5 senses, motor skills for young and old. An already existing petanque field has been enhanced by the development of a shaded rest/dining area nearby. The garden is a meeting place around a musical tackle, through a gardening workshop or a walking session on adapted tackle, all supervised by a professional. Special attention will be given to making this space accessible to residents with Alzheimer’s disease by creating a space for them to enjoy a safe walkway. · At the front, the residence has a beautiful open-air space, located in the basement. Concrete and little showcased, this interior courtyard has turned into a place of cultural openness and offers spaces to develop the intergenerational and local link with families and children (through our partnerships) on scheduled gatherings and activities (outdoor cinema sessions, theater, hosting a music group…). LEADER has made it possible to acquire outdoor furniture and install pergolas. · Finally, the forecourt at the entrance will be considered as a symbolic transitional space from the street to the residence. The EHPAD wishes to develop local partnerships and social ties with the installation of a chalet to house pop-up shops, the sale of residents’ creations and the establishment of a Christmas market for families and partners. Bistro tables and a floral arrangement are envisaged for this space dedicated to exchange, it can also be used for the reception of external exhibitions to give the desire to pass the gate. EHPAD observes that it has reached full capacity with some 20 people on the waiting list.

Le caractère emblématique du projet

With the ambition of contributing to the maintenance of the populations on its territory, the Pays Picard – Vallées de l’Oise et de l’Ailette wished to direct part of its local development strategy towards supporting actions to improve the existing supply of services, in particular by creating or developing spaces promoting social and intergenerational connection. Located within the Picardie des Châteaux community of municipalities, which has just over 17,000 inhabitants, “La Mèche d’Argent” is the only EHPAD in this highly rural area. In addition, following the COVID-19 health crisis, the institution has noted the need to provide outdoor spaces that are open (which were lacking during the various lockdowns) and attractive in order to compensate for a decrease in staff due to a poor image of this type of accommodation. The LEADER funding makes it possible to contribute to the realization of a coherent project that combines several experimental approaches that would otherwise have taken years to implement, without probably the same level of quality. This is a meta-project that proposes the creation of a therapeutic garden that is not only open to residents but is also a place for intergenerational exchanges, while offering a boutique space to involve residents, families and the local ecosystem. The project thus contributes to further anchoring the institution as a player in the development and attractiveness of the territory. The realization of this project in one piece, gives the EHPAD a tool for the development of new partnerships with the community of municipalities, schools, the agricultural high school and various associations from different backgrounds.


EHPAD La Mèche d’Argent

Pays Picard – Vallées de l’Oise et de l’Ailette