The national week for retirees and the elderly, better known as "Blue Week", has taken place every year in October since 1951. Throughout France, events are organized to highlight retirees and the elderly. through their many and diverse activities in economic, social and cultural life, but also to make their concerns and difficulties better known.
It has been nearly 70 years since the public authorities decided to dedicate a strong moment in favor of retirees and the elderly. It was indeed in 1951 that the first “Day of the Elderly” was organized. A few years after the end of the Second World War, the purpose of this day was to carry out a national quest for the most needy elderly people, but also to organize snacks, meals, outings, etc., for the most old.
It was in 1977 that the name "Blue Week" was chosen to qualify the "National Week for Retired and Elderly People", with the slogan "365 days to act, 7 days to say it". Each year, a theme is highlighted, for example in 2019:"For a society that respects the planet:let's act together". Events and initiatives are organized throughout France on the theme chosen by structures and associations in connection with retirees and the elderly at the local level. They are all referenced on an interactive map available on the dedicated Semaine-bleue.org website.
Blue Week is also marked by a competition and the awarding of 6 prizes to events at the level of a department, a canton, a municipality, an establishment, etc., which put the most emphasis on value the participation of older people in life in society and which have an innovative character. These prizes are awarded by the Ministry of Solidarity and Health, the Fondation de France, the National Old Age Insurance Fund (Cnav), the Agirc-Arrco supplementary pension scheme and the Caisse centrale de la Mutualité social agricole (MSA) .
Each edition of the Semaine Bleue is also placed under the sponsorship of a personality. In 2019, sociologist Edgar Morin was chosen to support these 7 days in favor of retirees and the elderly, first for his commitment to saving the planet, but also, as he indicates, because "this initiative allows elderly people to mobilize each year, to exist together, but also to offer another image in a society that is all too often dominated by excessive youthfulness. It therefore meets very central societal issues .
The Blue Week is organized every year in October. A national committee, made up of representatives of national associations or bodies, including the National Interfederal Union of Private Non-Profit Health and Social Works and Organizations (Uniopss), is responsible for drawing it up. This committee is placed under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. It relies on departmental committees that help associations, communities, establishments, etc., to organize their event at the local level.
The 7 days a year devoted to Blue Week aim to inform and raise public awareness on the contribution of pensioners to economic, social and cultural life, on the concerns and difficulties encountered by the elderly, as well as on the achievements and projects of local actors in connection with the elderly. It is about creating links between generations by making the youngest people aware in particular that seniors continue to count in society itself, especially after leaving the world of work.
In 2019, for example, the theme of Blue Week "For a society respectful of the planet:together let's act" made it possible to show that retirees and the elderly are "powerful vectors for building a society more respectful of its environment thanks, among other things, to their know-how which they pass on to the younger generations, their preference to use public transport instead, or, for example, their desire to develop intergenerational housing.