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Video: Living independently in old age: support programs help
Barriers often have to be removed so that older people can live independently in their usual home. The state helps with funding programs. Competent advice is even more important. Fortunately, in many cases they are even free of charge.
Grandma goes to a nursing home? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! Statistically, there is a good chance that even the very old will stay in their own four walls.
Almost 90 percent of people in Germany who are 80 years and older live independently in their familiar surroundings. Even two thirds of all those in need of care are cared for on an outpatient basis. However, only five percent of those over the age of 65 live in a barrier-free apartment - in other words, in a home where even less mobile people can move around well.
Most seniors at home have to overcome obstacles and thresholds every day. Fortunately, many barriers can be removed. Anyone who plans to do this can not only count on financial support, for example from long-term care insurance. What many do not know: "If you want to adapt your home to a new life situation, you can take individual advice, " explains Bärbel Hälbig, board member of the Federal Working Group on Housing Adaptation.
Avoid moving to the home
Whether Hamburg or Munich, Leipzig or Dortmund - all over the country, municipalities and associations offer housing advice. Experts in the so-called housing adaptation support people who are restricted in their mobility due to age, illness or accident. "The consultants come home to those affected, assess the situation and give specific recommendations on how apartments can be redesigned to remove barriers, " explains Hälbig. Many housing advice centers are financed with public funds or donations. In many cases, advice is therefore free of charge for those seeking advice.
But where can you find an expert? Help can be provided, for example, by social welfare offices, senior citizen centers or associations for the disabled. Alternatively, you can contact the Federal Housing Adjustment Association. The residential advice centers work independently of providers: Those who seek advice at home need not fear that they will sell them products or urge them to take certain measures. "In order for people to be able to live safely and comfortably at home, a major renovation is not always necessary, " explains Susanne Tyll, who is responsible for coordinating NRW's housing advice. Small measures can often help: a second handrail on the stairs, better lighting, higher beds or sofas that make getting up easier. And sometimes it is enough to remove bulky furniture to create more freedom of movement.
In the case of major redesigns, the question of financing arises. In acute cases and as soon as a degree of care has been recognized, there is up to 4, 000 euros from the care fund. Depending on the clinical picture, various foundations also support. The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) provides discounted loans especially for age-appropriate renovations. Federal states and also some municipalities have additional funding grants. There are many sources of money. The housing advisors know who can best help when. Time planning is necessary, because funded measures can only be started once the funds have been approved. It is easier and more convenient to remove obstacles as a precaution and without time pressure. "Use our professional offer before barriers become a problem, " advises Tyll. Housing advice is open to anyone interested - including the young and healthy.