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Study: More old Germans can't afford care

The Local · 28 Oct 2012, 16:04

Published: 28 Oct 2012 16:04 GMT+01:00

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Residential care homes for the elderly are beyond the means of increasing numbers of German pensioners, according to as yet unpublished figures from the Federal Statistical Office, seen by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

The figures show a five-percent increase in the number of people needing government aid to finance care in their old age in 2010, with a total annual cost to the state of €3.4 billion.

Experts see this as cause for alarm. “The risk of falling into poverty due to care needs has been growing for years,” said Ulrike Mascher, president of the VdK social law association and lobby group.

Full care for an elderly patient in a home costs €2,900 a month, just €1,500 of which is covered by nursing insurance, the paper said. To make matters worse, pensions have been stagnating for years.

The German population is aging rapidly and the number of people needing state financial aid to cover care costs is expected to double to 4.7 million by 2050, or 1 in 15 Germans, wrote the paper. By then the German government may not be able to support its citizens financially in their old age, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned earlier this year.

“In the face of this impending emergency it's appropriate at least to consider alternative forms of care,” Willi Zylajev, German MP and care specialist told the paper.

Unable to afford care homes in their own country, growing numbers of elderly Germans are choosing to move abroad to Eastern Europe, Spain or Thailand for their twilight years, where costs are kept low mainly due to lower wages for care workers.

The German care industry is currently in discussion over whether German insurance companies could cooperate with residential care homes abroad to help this option become more attractive, but direct contracts subsidizing care abroad are still forbidden under German law.

Story continues below…

Another alternative being discussed is to bring large numbers of Asian or Eastern European care workers to work in Germany, Zylajev told the paper.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:55 October 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
The ticking time bomb keeps ticking. Knowing the German government their solution will be to increase the Pfand on bottles so as the pensioners can get more money out of the bins. Maybe it is time to look instead at where all the money on health insurance is really going?
17:34 October 28, 2012 by Englishted
Agreed BFA ,and with so many €400 jobs and agency workers, I think their idea that it will double by 2050 is way below the true figures.
18:59 October 28, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Sorry, Old People!! But we need to spend all your/our money on keeping the Planet from OVERHEATING !!! You guys are just not on top of the priority list anymore. Our POLIS need all the money we can send them to SAVE US ALL.
12:41 October 29, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
Lets be honest, it is not just a German problem, Britain is no better despite having a completely different social system. One country spends the money, it could have for the old people, fighting wars all over the globe. The other spends it rebuilding the countries which have suffered the damaged caused. Neither give a damn for their own older citizens. Once you are retired it is time to be written off.
14:24 October 29, 2012 by raandy
The care of the elderly, is a problem for all Nations, and it is getting more difficult to manage with inflation of incomes,goods and services. When these folks were planning their retirement, what seemed like an adequate income, then turns out not to be enough for retirement. The additional average life span has also contributed to this dilemma.

Yet very little has changed with the working force, they are still funding their retirements on the present day economy.

As the article pointed out there needs to be a supplemental insurance plan, to help close this gap in old age.

We are all going to find ourselves in this situation if something is not done about it.

These people were not born old.
17:17 October 29, 2012 by Englishted
@ raandy

Benjamin Button was .
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