The ZIA Spring Report analysis—Age-appropriate housing services on the rise
Feature by Sebastian Holl, CEO wohnvoll
Housing forms with care services are an important component of municipal services of general interest
The population structure in Germany is changing. The number of people aged at least 60 has risen by 27 percent in the past nine years, and with it the need for housing suitable for senior citizens. The importance of this topic is shown by the current Spring Report of the Real Estate Industry 2022, in which the Council of the Real Estate Industry has dedicated a separate chapter to care properties. It also notes that the old-age dependency ratio has risen from 33.94 in 2011 to 36.88 in 2020. This means that the ratio of senior households to the working population is shifting in favor of seniors, "which will become an increasing challenge in the provision and financing of home care," says the report, which also looks into the future:
According to the forecast by the German Federal Statistical Office, the proportion of seniors in the population will increase by another 22 percent or so by 2035. This means that the need for care, but also the need for special housing with integrated care services, will increase significantly in Germany, the real estate experts conclude, and see the greatest need for action in the western German states, where the growth will be greatest. There, the occupancy rates of the facilities are already very high, and, at the same time, the number of demanders is rising sharply: Experts estimate that around 117,000 additional places will be needed in North Rhine-Westphalia alone by 2040, confirming wohnvoll AG's strategy of opening several new wohnvoll villages in North Rhine-Westphalia and elsewhere in the coming years with facilities in the senior living segment. In this way, we are creating modern yet affordable apartments for people aged 65 and over, who can take advantage of individual services, including an in-house nursing service, if required. What is also special about our concept is the extensive digitization, which will ensure that our residents can easily communicate with us, get into conversation with each other and socialize.
The report by the real estate industry also contains recommendations for local politics, which I consider to be very important. "The general conditions presented indicate that the care segment will continue to grow in importance in the future. A needs-based and comprehensive range of care services must therefore be recognized as an important component of municipal services of general interest." Particularly in rural areas, which are already affected to an above-average extent by demographic change, age-appropriate housing with supplementary care services is a building block for creating equal living conditions, the report continues. After all, it is precisely in these areas that the detached single-family house is the dominant form of housing, which is often not suitable for senior citizens. In addition, outpatient care services are not available nationwide and long travel times make care difficult. We also believe that housing types such as our wohnvoll villages, with their flexible services and focus on community and activity, counteract loneliness in old age and thus also slow the decline in mental health and fitness. A need for long-term care can hopefully be delayed in this way.
Since more and more seniors are living in single households and relatives often no longer live nearby as they used to, the experts in the spring report assume that the need for home care provided by appropriate service providers and special forms of housing with care services will increase. To be able to offer this broad spectrum of services, a differentiated provider structure should be promoted, is therefore the recommendation of the real estate industry to politicians and businesses.