Aging in Germany

A female caretaker holds the hands of an older male patient.

"Mit 66 Jahren, da fängt das Leben an, mit 66 Jahren, da hat man Spaß daran" (Life starts at 66; 66 is the age when the fun begins) – there is something to be said for the lyrics of this German pop tune. Most people retire between the ages of 65 and 67, and many (but clearly not all) can enjoy their retirement, thanks to the pension scheme and a good health insurance system.

Average life expectancy in Germany is a little over 80 years old. But in later life, lots of people cannot cope on their own and need help. Relatives who could or want to help may not live close by. In this case there are a number of care options, for example Betreutes Wohnen (assisted living), which means that people can live in their own wheelchair-accessible homes but can receive certain forms of assistance. In Seniorenheimen (aged care homes), residents have their own room but receive care around the clock. People who require constant medical care are often looked after in Pflegeheimen (nursing homes).

Germany faces big challenges because of the growing number of older people. As a result, there is a high demand for trained caregivers.