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Single in old age: How modern care facilities are becoming a social network

Verena Bauer • 07/03/2022
Umfrage Wohnen Civey Umfrage Wohnen Civey

23 million singles currently live in Germany. A not inconsiderable proportion also feel comfortable with this. What used to be rather unusual - especially over the age of 30 - is now increasingly becoming the expression of a generation that loves independence and likes to take a critical look at moving in with a partner. Because a "life partner" brings not only idyllic togetherness, but also obligations, consideration and sometimes issues of heated discussion. With their new flexibility in mind, singles and couples have a choice: to live alone in their own flat or to share four walls. 

What may sound like freedom for younger generations looks quite different for older people. When mobility decreases, living alone quickly tips towards loneliness, neediness and social isolation. And after all, the over-70s make up the majority of people living alone in Germany. Modern housing concepts for old age are therefore becoming more important and socially urgent. In 2050, one third of our fellow human beings will be over 60 and will find themselves in exactly this situation: Every visit from the family will quickly become a long-awaited highlight. 

Modern care concepts are responding to this change with new formats: Shared apartments for the elderly, mobile care services for those in their own home and age-appropriate neighbourhood developments are springing up everywhere. In this way, the care facility becomes a social network intended to compensate for the absence of the extended family. But what exactly do people today want regarding an age-appropriate future? What factors do these plans depend on? Family status? Wealth? Social status? The region in which one lives? And how can we design future-proof forms of care today? We asked. 

 

Retirement homes: High standard for a pleasant retirement

    

At rural and urban district level, senior residences are among the preferred forms of housing in old age. They offer residents high standards, luxurious amenities and flexibility. And are a counter-model to the more feared retirement and old people's homes. As a form of assisted living, they offer people in old age the greatest possible self-determination. Individual additional care services make life easier as the need for care progresses.

In only eight districts are multi-generation facilities ahead of senior residences. In the new federal states, this preference is clearly below the national average. Multigenerational facilities allow older people to live under one roof with the younger generations and thus remain in contact.

 

More choice: Executives with (age) vision 

 Level of salary and professional position have an impact on the choice of retirement residence: People with stronger purchasing power favour senior residences more often than people with lower incomes. One reason for this could be the comparatively higher costs. The same applies to higher professional status: while 57 percent of civil servants prefer senior residences, just 32 percent of workers prefer this form of housing. A quarter of the blue-collar workers surveyed said they had no idea yet how they would like to live in old age. This group shows much greater uncertainty than, for example, managers: here it is only 9 percent who "don't know yet".

Residential Survey Civey 

Alternative models: Classic retirement homes need a breath of fresh air

    

Regardless of age, the respondents also prefer retirement homes with adjoining assisted living apartments. In second place is home care in multi-generational facilities. Younger people have a less clear preference: 14.3 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds today do not yet know how they want to live in old age. The level of uncertainty sinks with increasing age as a decision approaches. 

Retirement and old people's homes are less popular across all age groups. Younger cohorts and over 65-year-olds are still the least critical of this type of living. In middle-age, this form of living appears the least attractive.  In no age group, however, are there more than five percent who see this traditional form of care as the desired model for their own retirement. 

 

CONCLUSION:

There is still a lot to do by 2050, when every third person will be over 65 years old and hoping for alternative care concepts. A lucrative playground for creative developers and investors who want to invest in a socially highly relevant asset class.

 

 

"

Residents’ needs are even more the focus of developers, operators and investors than they were previously. The care asset class can be newly-filled with innovative concepts and is highly relevant to society.

  

"

 

Jan-Bastian Knod

Head of Residential Advisory and Healthcare Advisory 

  

 

CONTACT

Jan Bastian Knod

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