“Les 3 Colonnes” is a French social cooperative (or société coopérative d’intérêt collectif– in French) established in October 2013 by current director Sébastien Tcherniavsky, and Frédéric Lacaze. Their main goal is helping the elderly through life annuities. However, their take is unique and cooperative.
In the last years, France has seen an increase in its ageing population; with more of 25% of the population expected to age 65 and older by 2030. As the elderly community is on the rise, so is the demand for spots in nursing homes.
At the same time, more than 70% of French retirees own their home, and with places being limited at nursing homes, they see fit to continue inhabiting their properties for the last decades of their lives.
This is precisely where Les 3 Colonnes comes in, they offer a cooperative solution for the elderly to not only continue living at home, conserving their autonomy and independence, but to also receive a monthly annuity and care for the rest of their lives.
The modus operandi of Les 3 Colonnes as follows: the beneficiary (elderly person) joins the cooperative by selling them their property. In return, the cooperative will pay the beneficiary in the form of a monthly pension thus financing their support and maintenance. After some years, when the beneficiary has passed away, the cooperative will take over the property and manage it so someone else can inhabit it.
This financing is possible thanks to funds collected from public, private entities and institutions. By pulling together enough financial resources through the financial contribution of 1735 funder members, named the “active solidary generation”, the cooperative can purchase a high number of properties which it redistributes in the form of monthly annuities to the elderly who become the beneficiaries of the activity, also named the “inactive solidarity generation”. Following the departure of an elderly, the cooperative can resell or rent the accommodation and thus create a source of profit. This allows the cooperative to reimburse the financiers and reinvest the margins for the benefit of new beneficiaries. It is a society that "self-regenerates".
“It was through acquaintance that I was made aware of the existence of SCIC Les 3 Colonnes. My retirement being too tight to live properly, I was looking for a solution to live more easily and in better conditions. In addition, the loads that fell on me were also too heavy, which is why the solution offered by Les 3 Colonnes is the most suitable for my situation. I can stay at home with confidence. ” says Rose, a 3 Colonnes beneficiary.
The cooperative refers to their approach as “mutualized life annuities” because it provides a satisfactory balance between the interest of the elderly and that of the cooperative. The collective interest is to build a tangible, fair economic system, which allows some to finance their autonomy and others to take refuge in some savings.
Explanation chart (in French)
In addition to the monthly annuity the coop also provides multiple services for them in return including medical help and care, occupational therapy, entertainment, exercise, nutrition, among others. All of these are brought to their doorstep, with the goal being that the elderly remains independent, comfortable, and healthy at their home.
The cooperatives’ properties are now worth about 30 million euros, and they currently have 203 elder beneficiaries. The average stipendiary receives around 7 hours of help per week at their home for their diverse activities, regardless of their monthly income.
Overall, a great alternative to a nursing home, for the elderly who do not wish to leave their premises, and do it in a solidary and sustainable way.
Les 3 Colonnes, is a member of CGSCOP, our French member.