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Caregivers (Aidants Proches)



Operational Information


More Info


Started in March 2011, Aidants Proches is a counselling service, based on a self-assessment, that provides information and support for French speaking Belgian informal carers, that can be accessed through the internet or the telephone. The purpose is to provide some respite, training and volunteer support to informal carers of old people living at home in order to alleviate carer burden, burnout and loneliness. The main driver was the pivotal role played by informal carers in the Belgian society which had a significant impact on personal, financial, professional, health and social levels and the need to recognise this role by providing several form of support. In addition to providing counselling, educational workshops are offered.

The service is publicly and privately funded.

The ICT devices are an interactive TV connected to the internet (email), a telephone line, user friendly tablets and interactive television (ITV) connected to the internet and e-mail. The service involves different organisations within the public, private and third sectors, the latter composed of volunteers. Although there is no impact assessment, the service could have a positive impact on the quality of life of informal carers, paid assistants and older people. Moreover, the service could benefit the private and public sectors helping to optimise financial and human resources.

refers to the target users, kind of service provided, ICTs typologies and devices used

Caregivers (Aidants Proches)

The initiative main aim is providing some respite, training and volunteer support to French speaking Belgian informal carers of old people living at home in order to alleviate carer burden, burnout and loneliness. The service intends to foster the recognition of informal carers, to maintain and/or improve their quality of life by enhancing their social inclusion and to improve the quality of care provided.

The service intends to:

  • Identify the needs of carers;
  • Contribute to official recognition of informal carers and defending their social rights;
  • Summarise information on services for carers;
  • Raise the profile of informal carers to acknowledge their contribution to the society and to help address their needs.

The main driver was the considerable presence of informal carers which had a significant impact on personal, financial, professional, health and social levels.

To raise awareness by identifying challenges and formulating recommendations.

To train carers to perform self-assessment of their needs. This was a fundamental social motivation since carers often don’t consider themselves as such. Rather they think of themselves only as a parent, a spouse, or a child. In addition, they have no knowledge of their rights.

The last driver is the large number of French speaking Belgian informal carers.


Yes Care Recipients
Yes Informal carers
No Paid assistants
Yes Formal carers


Not available


No Independent Living
Yes Information and learning for carers
Yes Personal Support and Social Integration for carer
Yes Care coordination


Aidant Proches is an organisation of informal carers that runs a counselling helpline in French-speaking Belgium, which can be accessed over the phone and through the Internet. It provides psychosocial interventions, according to partnership recommendations of the European Services, regarding independent living, training, support and advice to carers.

In addition, it supplies digital solidarity, information monitoring, bench testing and expert advice on gerontechnology, websites and social networks dedicated to patients and their families. Moreover, there are educational workshops with two associations of volunteers, “Fraternité numérique” and “Petits frères des Pauvres”, as well as a distance guidance in collaboration with “Sparkangels” (the 1st digital mutual aid in France);

Service tools are:

  • Constant specific telephone information line.
  • An user guide for informal carers in the Wallonie Region and Brussels.
  • Dedicated projects development.

Coordination of institutional polices.


The required devices are:

  • interactive TV (ITV) connected to the internet (email)
  • telephone line.
  • user friendly tablets

Operational Information
refers to the type of funding, budget, sustainability and organisations involved

Both public and private
Public service funding: Government, Regional, Local Authorities, non-profit public entities

Public service funding:

  • The Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

  • The province of Brabant Wallon

  • The Service of Social Security

  • The Cocof (French Community Commission)

  • The Cocom (Brussels Community Commission)

  • The Town of Namur


Other: please specify

Non-profit funding: several Charities.

Sponsors: LUNDBECK S.A ( and Opositive (


Not applicable


The service’s sustainability is strictly linked to the current situation of European funding. Nevertheless, the outlook for financing is positive due to the positive impact this service has on the self-awareness and empowerment of informal carers and their access to information, training, psychological help and respite services. Such support services are underdeveloped across Europe.

Aidants Proches increases the participation and engagement of informal carers and is simpler and less expensive than a professionally administered needs assessment. (Self-assessment is completed by informal carers without direct involvement of professionals.) As a consequence, there may be more willingness to invest in the service.


Not available


Yes Authorities
Yes Private Care Sector
Yes Health and Social Care Systems
Yes Third Sector
Yes Private Companies


Not available

Charities are co-funders of the initiative and provide volunteers

No Informal Carers
Yes Health Professionals
Yes Social Care Professionals
No Privately-Hired Care Assistants (inc. Migrant Care Workers)
Yes Volunteers


The professional team is composed of the project coordinator, the president, the training, administrative and accountancy directors. Health and social care professionals provide support, advice and run all the services in collaboration with the following partner organisations:

  • Specific associations supporting dependent people;
  • Specific associations supporting informal carers;
  • The Public Administration of the Wallonne Region, Cocof and Cocom;
  • The union of towns and communities of the Wallonie Region;
  • Mutual Insurance;
  • Domicile care and support services;
  • Family support services;
  • Social hospital services;

Local municipalities.


Volunteers visit carers and care recipients at home. Two voluntary associations also provide educational workshops.


1,001 - 5,000

Not available


Summer and Educational Workshops and a Blog.

refers to the impact of the service on end-users, care organisations and authorities


Although there is no impact assessment, the coordinator, Ms Caroline Ducenne, confirmed the possible effects of the service at the micro, meso and macro levels.

The service could have a positive impact on the quality of life, by improving social life and health, of the following:

- Informal carers by reconciling care and work

- Paid assistants

- Older people

Other benefits:

  • Acceptability of ICT by informal carers and care recipients through the use of simple and friendly devices that are windows opened on support and relief opportunities and advice on gerontechnology.

  • Respite for informal carers;

  • Reveal positive emotions of carers;

  • Meeting and helping carers in their daily tasks;

  • Providing informal carers with prose and poems written by other caregivers;

  • Higher quality of care (Ducenne, 2014).


By helping the informal carer to reconcile work and caring tasks, the service can benefit companies and the labour market by avoiding added costs for substituting/replacing the worker (Ducenne, 2014).


The service can have a positive impact on public authorities, the NHS and social care services by helping to save the cost of home caring and hospitalisation and by supporting, training and qualifying informal and formal carers. As a result it also helps to optimise financial and human resources (Ducenne, 2014).



  1. The initiative won the Trophée du Grand Age in May 2011 (Innovative Territory and Association – General Council).
  2. The website is clear and logically structured. It avoids complicated medical terms, using words and phrases familiar to informal carers.
  3. Meetings and ICT workshops with/for carers
  4. The website hosts an Online Customer Satisfaction Form for suggestions, comments, questions, experiences and claims.
  5. The service allows carers to carry out online self-assessment.


  1. There are no English nor Dutch language websites.
  2. No impact assessment has been carried out.
  3. Aidants Proches accommodates the diversity of informal carers regarding age, gender, geography and culture but this would perhaps necessitate separate self-assessment approaches.


  1. Young informal carers are generally more willing to use ICTs, such as websites or chat programs, whereas older people prefer talking to others. The service can reach also young informal carers as it use ICTs that they prefer.


  1. The service's main threat is probably not reaching hidden informal carers, which are people who do not identify themselves as family carers and therefore do not interact with support organisations or service providers.


  1. The main challenge is being able to reach those carers that live in isolation and do not have easy access to information.

Not available

More Information
includes contacts, publications and accompanying documents



Initiative’s update by Caroline Ducenne, Project Manager, via e-mail in February 2014.


Alter&L(2008) Les enjeux liés à la définition d’un statut pour les aidants proches en Belgique (Issues related to the definition of a status for caregivers in Belgium), available at

Aidant Proches (2010) Reconnaissance légale et accès aux droits sociaux pour les aidants proches (Legal recognition and access to social rights for caregivers), available at

Aidant Proches (2012) Avec toi, le plaidoyer... Les proches aidants, Une prise de conscience sociale qui tarde face à l'urgence d'agir (With you, advocacy ... Caregivers, a social awareness that delays in respect to the urgency), available at



Contacts: Route de Louvain-La-Neuve, 45001 Belgrade


Madame Caroline Ducenne, Project Coordinator

Telephone : 081/74.68.79 or

Madame Céline Feuillat, Training Responsible

Telephone: 081/30.30.32


Madame Chantal Gonze, Administrative and Accounting Responsible

Telephone: 081/74.68.79; e-mail:

Madame Bernadette Van Vlaenderen President

e-mail :