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What are apartments for the elderly and why are they almost unknown in Poland? Get to know the so-called market for the elderly

Apartments for the elderly are living spaces designed with the special needs of the elderly in mind. In Poland, the so-called market for the elderly is just beginning to develop, but it is already progressing in other countries. It is difficult to say whether these solutions will be accepted in Poland, because most of our elderly people live in their own apartments or with their families.

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Elderly people, who have less strength and are more difficult to move around, are often less able to cope with everyday activities. Despite this most Polish seniors do not want to move out of their current apartment – according to the Polsenior poll, 45.3 percent. pensioner declares that he will not change his place of residence, even despite the high cost of living and various inconveniences. For example, even 76.7 percent. pensioners who participated in Fakt’s survey say that they have not renovated their apartment in the last decade. At the same time only a few percent of older people have conveniences at home, such as grab bars in the bathroom or non-slip floors. This means that Polish elderly people mostly live in houses and apartments that are not adapted to their needs.

In the case of some older people, the low standard of housing should be considered difficult. About 8 percent of the elderly lived in apartments without a bathroom, toilet or running water, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics.

However, housing offers aimed specifically at the elderly are starting to appear in our country. This so-called market older lifeknown, among other places, in the United States, Western Europe and Scandinavian countries. It’s about solutions for elderly people who are independent (do not require all-day care), but would love to use the support in dealing with everyday life.

– They were created for elderly people who do not need constant health care, but help, the possibility of sharing everyday life with others and life in the community. Such facilities offer rehabilitation rooms, sports halls, shared activities, access to a garden or an emergency nurse. Additional services are often offered, such as shopping or dog walking – explains Michał Witkowski, director of the Living Services line in the Department of Corporate Finance and Life Services | CEE at Colliers.

So, it is something between complete independence without professional support and staying in a nursing home where support is provided 24 hours a day. What facilities and attractions can older people count on there? An example can be an offer from Wrocław:

Our apartments for the elderly in the residence Rezydencja Na Dyrekcyjna are a combination of comfort and safety – rooms with bathroom and kitchenette without architectural barriers and the possibility of using medical assistance in emergencies (…) – we read on the website of the Orpea group, which, among other things, offers field services assisted living. – However, the most important thing is the rich entertainment program, cultural and artistic events and a wide range of activation activities – from memory training to sports activities and interest clubs.

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As shown by last year’s national census, in the last decade of 16.9 percent. the percentage of people after working experience (over 60/65, depending on gender) increased to 21.8 percent. This means that the elderly are an increasingly large part of our society. It is estimated that by 2025, every third Pole will be over 65 years old.

In response to these social changes (and the potential profits associated with them) this phenomenon is entering Poland older life. It has several main manifestations:

  • investors who build residential buildings are increasingly competing for the “City without barriers” certificate, which means that the building is adapted to the needs of people with mobility difficulties, including the elderly;
  • the offer of homes for the elderly is slowly expanding, where the elderly can count on round-the-clock help and support,
  • the first objects related to her begin to appear older life if assisted livingthat is, the provision of various services to help the elderly, but to a lesser extent than in homes for the elderly.

– Investments of this type have already been carried out in Katowice, Majdan near Warsaw, Wodzisław Śląski and Opole. Further facilities are being built in Konin, Inowrocław, Poznań and Okola near Starogard Gdańsk, and investors also plan to start plants in assisted living in Łódź, Wisła Mała and another project in Poznań – the Colliers expert enumerates.

However, at the moment there are not many such contents, and they are not cheap either (the monthly fee starts at around PLN 4,000 per month), so it is an offer intended for more affluent older people. And it must be remembered that this is a fairly small group in Poland – according to the Central Statistical Office, roughly three quarters of older people in Poland live in households where the main source of income is a pension (68%) or a disability pension (6%).

Is the market older life develop in our country? It seems that although the first investments of this kind are appearing, the Poles are quite wary of new solutions. Our culture values ​​family ties and most older people prefer to live with relatives or fend for themselves, treating any form of professional support (eg a nursing home) as a last resort.

This is confirmed by statistics. When it comes to how Polish seniors live, the latest available data comes from 5-10 years ago. However, it is difficult to assume that there were any radical changes at that time, so the results of the research are still worth quoting. According to the Polsenior survey, the majority of elderly people in Poland live in family houses (82%) and blocks of flats (15%). According to the National Bureau of Statistics, more than a quarter (28%) of elderly people in Poland live alone (runs a single-member household). The remaining 72 percent of the elderly live together with othershalf of whom share a household with only one person, most likely a life partner.

At the same time, according to the EU-SILC study in Poland we have the highest percentage of older people living with younger people in Europe (usually it’s probably a family). 37.4% live in our country with people under the age of 50. women and 38.6 percent. men aged 65 or older. 12 percent of the elderly have school-aged children (6-18 years) at home, and 7.7 percent. younger children (0-6 years).

This proves that older, often infirm, elderly people are taken care of by other people, probably mostly relatives, in their own apartments, we read in the Polsenior research results study.

The following conclusions can be drawn from these data:

  • about 36 percent of Polish seniors live with their children and grandchildren,
  • another 36 percent live together with a partner,
  • 28 percent of older people live alone.

According to the EU-SILC study in 2017, less than 1 percent. Poles over the age of 65 lived in accommodation facilities. Meanwhile, in the Scandinavian countries, Germany and Belgium, this percentage ranged from 4 to 8 percent. Therefore, it is difficult to expect that there will be interest in solutions under the flag older life will be big in our country.

Sources:

“Quality of life of older people in Poland”, Central Statistical Office, 2021
European Survey of Living Conditions (EU-SILC), 2017
Polsenior Research Project, International Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, 2012
Research project Polsenior 2, Medical University of Gdańsk, ongoing
Major research on the living standard of the elderly, Fakt.pl, 2021

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