What Can US Learn from German Elderly Care?

The US elderly care system is unique and robust in many regards. We help seniors get adequate care at nursing homes. This is not all, we handle 61% of their nursing home expenses through Medicaid and other insurance schemes too.

In Germany, however, the problem is much different. Just like Japan, Germany too has a very ageing population and they are looking for innovative ways to handle their problem. We talked to Acorn Stairlifts to investigate the case of German elderly care and what the US can learn from their system.

Germany’s unique problem

By the year 2035, Germany will be home to 23 million senior citizens. Such a huge pressure on the system could break Germany’s back. The life expectancy in Germany is 81.09 years, much higher than that of USA which is 78.74 years only. On average, a German citizen over the age of 65 years will have to be taken care of by their kids or institutions for at least 15 to 16 years.

The solution to this problem comes in the form of immigrants. Germany recently became a refugee haven when millions of asylum seekers were brought here between 2015 and 2016. A large section of this population is aged 18 to 34 years, which means they could become a part of Germany’s aging workforce. Many of these young individuals will be trained to look after the German elderly.

82% Germans said that they don’t want to live in nursing homes. This is why serving them at home will be a much better idea. If the immigrant population, many of whom are educated and looking for work, are trained in elderly care properly, they could be very helpful in managing the needs of the seniors. This will also solve employment problems amongst the immigrants.

At the same time, Germany is also looking forward to creating cohabiting spaces for the elderly. These spaces will be designed in the form of community apartments where the seniors can cohabit and socialize freely. This decreases the likelihood of loneliness and depression, which is often associated with nursing home care.

Another great idea is multigenerational facilities. There are social centers for the elderly as well as kindergarten where young families could drop their kids and retirees could take care of them. All of them get a chance to interact with each other. The most important thing about multigenerational is that they allow interactivity. Seniors are not passive here. They actively interact with kids and help them learn, play games and read.

Takeaways for US

In the US, nursing homes are fully equipped with the best of medical care. However, we could do a lot better to eliminate loneliness and depression from the retirees’ lives. We can also work together to create more multigenerational in the US where day care and elderly care facilities could be merged. We can also work towards making better staggered care facilities to our elders at more affordable rates so that they can enjoy staying at their home, with their families.

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