Shopping, walks, board games… Catherine Vanier offers her services as a companion to help isolated people.
She is gentle and somewhat empathetic, sensitive to other people’s emotions and their energy. Benevolent and patient, she loves people. Fundamentally. You can read it in his big blue eyes. In her former life in Haute-Garonne, Catherine Vanier belonged to the business world. In the world of luxury and its hushed boutiques. At that time, what she prefers in her activity, “it’s the others, it’s always been the others in fact”. But one fine day in 2020, that is no longer enough to make it flourish. “I really wanted to change course. I had reached a stage where what my hierarchy asked of me no longer corresponded to my values”, she says. So she decides to leave. To sell his Toulouse apartment and come and put his suitcases in the Aude countryside, near Rieux-Minervois. This is where her retraining project was born: to become a companion to the elderly.
It’s almost the same to have a woman in a dressing room telling you about her life and being next to an elderly person who feels lonely.
“In my previous professional experiences, I have always loved customer service. This is why I turned to personal assistance, a sector that is recruiting massively, motivates Catherine Vanier. It’s almost the same thing to counsel a woman in a dressing room who tells you about her life, who is unsure of herself, than to be next to an elderly person who feels alone and to achieve to make her feel good for a few hours. It’s just about knowing how to be.”
What does it consist of ? A lady companion is a person’s personal assistant in their daily life. She is in no way a domestic worker but rather “a trustworthy person” who spends time with a senior, at home and away. All for a fee. Twenty euros an hour to be precise. A sum that its customers can pay with universal service employment checks (CESU).
“We help break the loneliness of the elderly, so that aging is not synonymous with social isolation. Sometimes, as available as it is, the family needs respite. That’s where I come in. I can take them to the bank, to the doctor, to go shopping, to visit their friends. I do everything that a son or a daughter could do.”
Therapeutic singing bowls
Catherine’s services do not stop there. A few years ago, the neo-Audoise discovered sound massages using therapeutic singing bowls. Instruments initially used by Buddhist schools in Tibet, Nepal and northern India. “At one time, I was insomniac. This practice helped me reconnect with sleep… Having felt all their benefits myself, I decided to train myself in this method combining traditional know-how years of research”details the practitioner.
According to him, these “sound” massages would strengthen the natural defenses and would make it possible to relieve several ailments: reduction of stress, relief of back pain, migraines… A know-how that Catherine Vanier does not refuse to share with the people she accompanies.