What is senior housing

Assisted living - from the costs to the checklist: this will help you make a decision

Giving up home? Even if you are in need of care - for many people this prospect is not attractive in old age or with a serious illness. Most would like to avoid moving to a nursing home, which is why an alternative is becoming increasingly popular: assisted living. You need to know that about it.

What is assisted living?

Seniors live independently in their own apartmentsthat are located within a residential complex can fall back on additional service if necessary. This includes care by an outpatient nursing service, the provision of meals, etc.

There is even a DIN standard (77800): “Assisted living is a service profile for older people who live in a barrier-free apartment and residential complex that includes basic services / general care services and optional services / further care services. It supports an independent and self-determined household and lifestyle and the integration into social structures of the house community and the living environment "

When does assisted living make sense?

If it it becomes too difficult to look after yourself in your own apartmentBecause it is not age-appropriate or the renovation is too complicated, this type of living is helpful. It does not matter whether you come to assisted living alone, as a married couple or friends.

Another reason: If the Relatives live too far away or are unable to provide care for other reasons.

And here, too, living with service makes sense: around for one later need for care to take precautions, one looks for such a facility.

Independence is combined with security, privacy with care support. In addition, with “Wohnen plus” you live in a community that promotes security and friendly contacts - this in turn has a positive effect on your health.

Not suitable is the concept for constant need for care or assistance in everyday life, because a certain degree of independence is necessary.

Is there also assisted living for dementia?

Often the type of living is geared towards physical handicaps, but since we are getting older and the number of people suffering from dementia is increasing, there are also additional offers here. If you are looking for a facility specializing in dementia, you should go to corresponding funding offers for residents Value, which includes, for example, contacts to self-help groups or group events. Further extensive information on the subject of dementia can be found here.

What do I have to look out for in a facility?

Since the rules of living together can be freely designed here (the strict home law does not apply), you should thoroughly check the domiciles beforehand. As Alternative to the nursing home Still sprightly seniors should definitely check out the residential model.

Some facilities also offer a short trial living on - use it! Assisted living should not be larger than 80 residential units in order not to slip into anonymity or to have deficits in terms of services.

The basis: the Apartments must be age and handicapped accessible (depending on the model). These include, for example:

  • Elevators
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • no high doorsteps
  • large door widths
  • Support in the bathroom:
    • floor-level showers
    • raised toilet seats
    • Grab handles

You can of course make an appointment to see the whole system. But you can also stop by spontaneously to see what everyday life looks like in your dream system.

In any case, pay attention to how people interact with each other and what atmosphere prevails on site. Find out about additional offers such as joint celebrations, working groups, interest groups or self-help groups so that you can quickly make connections.

What are the basic services?

The so-called basic services are part of every assisted living. These include the House technicianwho takes care of the cleaning and maintenance of the system (attention: the caretaker should not be named as the contact person for supply problems!);

a pre-installed 24-hour emergency call systemwhich all residents use and which Care services by a specialistwhich, however, can turn out differently. At a minimum, advice, information and the mediation of services for seniors should be offered, for example in matters of authorities.

What do the optional services include?

Not includedOutpatient care service, cleaning of the apartment, meals on wheels, escort service when shopping, to the theater, to the doctor, etc. You decide for yourself what is most helpful for you, but can be booked with the care contract.

You shouldn't mix both services. If you are entering into a contract with an assisted living facility, it should be clear what the costs are

  • the rent (or the purchase price) of the apartment
  • the additional costs
  • the share of basic services
  • the optional services (itemized individually).

What types of assisted living are there?

First of all, a distinction has to be made: Assisted living is a permanent way of life, not an inpatient care facility. Short-term care is therefore not possible. The concept is for people with disabilities as well as for seniors applicable.

Usually you will find one of these three variants:

  • The facility is operated independently by the residents and they also organize care for everyone involved.

  • A provider operates the apartments and works with an external supervisor: The living space is rented to the people, other services come from suppliers.

  • Apartments and care are in the hands of one provider. This form is often referred to as a senior residence.

How do I find the ideal assisted living?

First of all, you need to find out for yourself what is important to you for your future:

Would you like to stay in your hometown or perhaps move close to relatives?

What should the environment be like: do you like it quiet or do you prefer a central location?

The costs incurred for a place in assisted living are not insignificant. That is why it is important to compare. Get it Information material from several institutions - Welfare associations are good contacts here, but advice from your doctor, the medical supply store or from your circle of friends can also help. Tour the facilities and talk to residents.

Only then can you decide whether the services are worth your money!

A checklist to look out for:

  • Is the apartment big enough?
  • Are you allowed to keep pets?
  • Which care services can be booked, i.e. how long can you be looked after on site if the need for care increases?
  • What is the location of the apartment: easy to reach by public transport, shops nearby?
  • Is there accessibility and is there an elevator?
  • How is the atmosphere among each other, is the community also promoted?
  • Is there a 24-hour emergency call?
  • Is the apartment bright, spacious and age-appropriate?
  • Is there always a nurse on site, is the nursing staff well trained?
  • Can you eat in common rooms in the residential complex (restaurant) and do you have a menu choice?
  • What leisure activities are there and are they interesting for you?
  • Is dementia patients also dealt with?
  • Is the contract easy to understand (e.g. notice period) and does it disclose all costs?
  • Does the contract differentiate between rent and care?

What are the costs?

The regional differences are quite large, so you can not a generally valid statement be taken over a certain price.

However, the following applies: You have to expect rent and ancillary costs as well as a lump sum for the basic services of around 100 euros per month. For rent, you can use the local rent index as a guide, to which you add around 20% due to the additional flat-rate care fee.

Your optional services, such as meals on wheels, add up to this. If you have a care level, you will receive long-term care insurance benefits that you can also use with this alternative form of living. Note that the model is not suitable for 24-hour care.

There Rental contract and care contract concluded separately should be, it also makes sense that these are not linked to one another as far as possible during the runtime. If you would rather get out of the care contract because the framework conditions have changed, that should be possible. However, this can only be enforced with independent sponsors; publicly funded assisted living always connects the terms.

Assisted living has a reputation for being very expensive, so that one cannot afford it with a small pension. However, this does not apply to all systems. If you have little money to spare, you can Apply for housing benefit or basic security in old age.

You can also consider taking out private long-term care insurance. However, it is only worthwhile if you tackle this at a young age in order to make provisions in old age


Assisted living is an alternative to the nursing home, which guarantees you extensive independence, but also offers security, for example with care by nursing services. If this is your interest, consider comparing multiple establishments.

Accessibility and age-appropriate equipment, the feeling of being welcome and a good price-performance ratio are important. The best way to do this, however, is to check the assisted living facilities on site. Our checklist is a useful aid for you.

If you would like to know which care aids are helpful for you in the context of assisted living, your medical supply store Beuthel will be happy to advise you. You are also welcome to leave us your experiences with the alternative form of living as a comment.