France – Inclusive table tennis

From a person’s acquaintance with Alzheimer’s disease, Bénédicte Draillard has an idea to promote inclusion >>> VIDEO

Hello. I am Bénédicte Draillard. I live in a beautiful city, Lyon, in the south-east of France, a metropolis with 1,400,000 inhabitants.

Recently I was elected in old Lyon, the historic district, as vice-responsible for services for the elderly. During the pandemic I really asked myself the question how to be close to these people many of whom no longer wanted to go out. With other members of the Council, we thought that we could organize an exhibition, an exhibition on the gates of the town hall garden with large panels.

We organized an exhibition for the Women’s Day about the great women of the 5th neighborhood of Lyon. We called it “matrimoine” (woman-heritage) and this exhibition, which was put on the gates of the town hall made people go out and come to their rhyme and look at those great historic panels. It was very successful.

One day I was showing this exhibition to a group of elderly; there was a gentleman among us who obviously was a bit out of touch; that is to say that he looked little the signs and walked around and around … And then at the end of the exhibition his wife said to me: “Thank you very much because you have been extremely patient with my husband who has Alzheimer’s disease “.

So, I said: “But it’s completely normal! This exhibition was also made for him“. This lady said to me: “You know, recently I read in the newspaper ‘Le Monde’ that for people with Alzheimer’s maybe playing ping pong could help from the psychomotor and cognitive point of view “. So – she continued – “Why not have in the garden of the town hall a ping pong table, which could also be an inter-generational place of course because we can play ping pong very well at any age?

It was an idea that I didn’t have absolutely had because I was not at all specialized on these questions. So, I inquired. I contacted “France Alzheimer” which is an association for people with Alzheimer’s. Together we assembled a file to request that there may be tables ping pong in town halls.

But – you know – I belong just from the 5th arrondissement of Lyon and therefore these grant requests they had to be done at the level of the central town hall. We therefore put together a file, and indeed currently we know that there will be ping pong tables in all city hall parks in Lyon thanks to this listening that took place with this person, this wife of a person who had Alzheimer’s,

I look forward to it because I think it is very important to listen to people. So, I invite you, for those who can, to inquire and possibly to put ping pong tables in the parks of your cities.

Goodbye, and if one day you come to Lyon well, you are of course welcome!