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Jean-Louis B.


by Raymonde W.

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Man, 64 years old.




At the time

Childhood and adolescence
- Childhood in the Lausanne area, of a father who was a high school teacher and a stay-at home mother with 4 children, 2 girls and 2 boys!

- The family lived with a grandmother, the mother of his father, a lady whose kindness to
her daughter-in-law was akward...

- Primary school in the village, secondary school in Lausanne, University in Lausanne,
Göttingen (Germany) and Alexandria (Virginia, United States). He studied protestant
theology (without the idea of becoming a pastor).

Adult until retirement
- All his professional career at the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). Has
therefore traveled a lot!

- Marriage at the age of 30 to a Salvadoran Catholic girl : an ecumenical couple who
"speaks" as much as necessary. She works as a psychotherapist. The couple has two
children, a girl and a boy, young adults today.

Position towards elderly in his childhood
The grandparents he knew (on one side only) were farmers so the elderly, in his boy’s head, were associated with nature, countryside, animals, etc. Had a very good image of old age.

Intergenerational ties in his family
His parents took care of their parents, since the grandmother even lived under the family roof. He took care of his mother who died a few months ago, even though she had moved into a nursing home a few years ago.



Compare what you thought about old age, your expectations for retirement to what it
really is

He loved his work, varied, fulfilling, even during heavy and difficult times.
But he appreciates today's freedom, being in shape, which allows him to volunteer in different organizations: Protestant Church of Canton of Vaud, Friends of a museum in Nyon and Geneva, for one of them, travel organization, etc.
As his wife still works “outside of home”, he does a lot of family work: shopping, meals ...


Life today
He lives with his wife and children who are still a little at home, has a sufficient pension to
lead a decent life, to go out from time to time when his schedule and his wife’s allow it, to
He is aware of belonging to the young retirees highly demanded on the voluntary market: he appreciates being able to choose organizations in which he feels comfortable, where he is able to use the knowledge and skills acquired during his professional life.


Daily habits in the present
No grandchildren yet, but friends, neighbours, extended family.
Leisure: exhibitions, concerts, cinema, theater, co-ownership committee, mountain and
countryside walks. No pets, but loves indoor plants.


Daily media (newspapers, television, radio in the car)
New technologies, every day! : Internet, computer, smartphone. Everyone he sees regularly,
with whom he collaborates, makes daily use of these technologies.


What drives him forward
The family, family affiliation, possibility of organizing his time but knowing that a good part
is spent into serving the community he lives with.


The role of retirees
Transmission of tradition, of knowledge and history to the younger generations of the family.


Representations of the elderly in the media
Ambivalent image, often loaded with the weight of society, but also provider of experiences.

Languages he still uses in his voluntary activities:
- French : mother tongue
- Spanish (2nd language of the family and work language during many years)
- German (fluent, work language during many years)
- English (fluent)


Our "interviewed" is a cheerful, happy, hardworking character, gifted for federating forces
around him: a good candidate for community life!