The Story of Odile - April 2008

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Odile is 82 years old and has never been married. She lives in a flat adjoining her nephew’s house, in the heart of the Alsace region in France.
Odile spent over 30 years as a full time nanny for multiple families in Belgium and in France.
In her old age, alone in her dim lit house for the past 20 years, all she has left is her daily routine.

She starts her day with « Café au lait » and Rtl2 radio in the background, and waits for the local nurse to come change her bandages. Odile has continued problems with veins that have left her feet swollen, slowing movement. She also suffers from a severe scoliosis that was never treated, leaving her weak and hunched.
Everything is slow yet stressful. It is already time to start making lunch when the breakfast dishes are set to dry. Odile’s whole day goes by this way, one task leading to the next, until she can finally sit in her chair and slowly fall asleep, only to start everything over again the next day.


In Odile’s house.


Odile is 82 years old and has never been married.


Every evening, Odile makes her bed and makes sure it is absolutely perfect.


Odile prepares her lunch. It takes a lot of time.



In Odile’s kitchen.


Every Monday, Odile does her laundry.


Odile likes to pamper herself.



Odile goes to the church whenever someone goes along with her. She does not drive.


Home-help and Government aids are available, but unnerve Odile: “If you take away habits from old people, you leave them with nothing.”



The crooked day to day. Impromptu and brief afternoon naps come as a result of her continuous and committed routine.


Odile only has the echoes of her own steps and sounds to remind her of life and living. She has no helping hand, or voice, or warmth. She doesn’t allow herself to think about her situation, too busy with her days, and always intent on pushing on to the end.