It's a great place to live: In Dietramszell, nine senior citizens live in a shared apartment. © Clara Wildenrath
Alternative living in old age involves several options. Expert Christiane Bäumler clears up stereotypes and provides an overview.
Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen – Your own home means home, solidarity and security. This makes it all the more difficult for many people to leave their homes for reasons of age. The fear of foreignness, of isolation and "deportation to a retirement home" leaves seniors frozen in their often too large home. But that doesn't have to be the case, Christiane Bäumler knows. She works in the senior citizens' department of the district office and gives lectures on alternative forms of living in old age. She spoke to our newspaper about shared apartments for the elderly, the fear of moving and the future of growing old.
Christiane Bäumler from the Senior Citizens' Department at the Private District Office ©
Nursing home or retirement home? An overview of alternative forms of housing for the elderly
Ms. Bäumler, aren't shared flats (WGs) just for students?
I don't think so (laughs). In student flats, everything is a matter of negotiation, be it the allocation of rooms or a cleaning schedule. This is a big thing in common with shared flats for the elderly. Whether food is brought there, how often care services come by or leisure programs are organized, is decided in community.
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Consequently, should we say goodbye to the classic ideas of living in old age?
Well, in the end, everyone has different ideas about where and how they want to live as a senior. For some, the conventional nursing home is a good fit. Others feel more comfortable in households with several generations or a personal caregiver in their own rooms. The costs are therefore mainly based on one's own need for help and care – and on what is available in the area.
Speaking of what is on offer: What alternative forms of housing are there here in the district?
In addition to classic nursing homes, we already have a few outpatient shared apartments for the elderly in the district. For example, in Dietramszell, Geretsried, Münsing, Wolfratshausen or Eurasburg. There are also two house communities and several assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, there is one thing we don't have yet: living for help.
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Various alternative forms of housing for the elderly with their advantages and disadvantages. © PMS Graphic
Housing for help – what exactly is it now?
In the concept, older people enter into a residential partnership with younger people. Trainees or students move in with older people – provided, of course, that the space allows it. For each square meter of living space, the young person then helps the older one hour a month, for example in the household or with shopping. Actually, everywhere, excluding care. So far, however, this has been a grey area under tax law, and the mediation of residential partnerships is not promoted. That's why we can't easily advertise the model.
And what about classic 24-hour care?
The term is no longer used in this way. In professional circles, the model in which a support worker lives in the living quarters of the beneficiary is called "live-in-force". When it came to the name 24-hour care, people tended to forget that there is a person behind the care service who also has the need for free time and vacation. The form still exists, but only a few providers have a contract with the long-term care insurance companies. Alternatives are welcome.
These could also be shared flats for the elderly. Where do all these new ideas come from?
I think people are starting to understand that living alone in their own apartment or house is not always the best way. Community is really important in old age. Daily social contacts keep you fit and lead to a better quality of life. However, this applies in general and is not limited to any form of housing. I have already experienced it myself that people have flourished again in nursing homes.
The interview was conducted by Jannis Gogolin.
By the way: Everything from the region can also be found in our regular Wolfratshausen-Geretsried newsletter.