Staying in your familiar surroundings for as long as you possibly can

Anyone thinking about how they want to live in old age is well advised not just to focus on the home. Where they live is equally important. If you’d like to stay in your familiar surroundings in old age – be it the rented accommodation or the privately-owned home you have lived in for many years – you should keep an eye to the future when assessing your situation: Ÿ

  • Accessibility applies not just to the home, but to the area in which you live. You should be able to get to the most important shops, doctors and public transport stops on foot without having to negotiate barriers.
  • There might come a time when you will need assistance – perhaps with the housework or when shopping, or you might eventually require long-term care. If this happens, it’s good if services of this kind, either paid for or (at least partly) on a voluntary basis, are available nearby.
  • People make all the difference: acquaintances to chat with, nice neighbours and friends close by. Social networks in the immediate neighbourhood are worth their weight in gold and are a good reason to continue living there. They ensure regular social contact and provide opportunities for mutual assistance and support.

Checklist: Is my neighbourhood suitable for people in old age?

To assess whether you live in an age-appropriate neighbourhood, use the checklist below. You should be able to answer most of the questions with “Yes”.

  • Are the main routes you use even and level?
  • Are the surfaces non-slip and easy to walk on (ideally without cobblestones)?
  • Are the pavements wide enough – at least 120 centimeters – to allow you to move unimpeded, including with a walking aid or an accompanying person?
  • Does the street lighting also permit safe use of the streets at night?
  • Are there enough benches available for resting and breaks?
  • Can public transport stops be reached on foot?
  • Can public transport stops be accessed without negotiating steps and thresholds?
  • Can parks and gardens be reached on foot and are they safe to use?
  • Do you have contact with neighbours? Can you rely on their help when everyday problems occur?
  • Are there local meeting places (community rooms, cafés and restaurants) that can be easily reached on foot?
  • Are there alternative shopping options, such as mobile supermarkets and home deliveries?
  • Are there offers of help and support (visiting services, home help, welfare centres and mobile care services) nearby?
  • Can you get to shops, a post office, a bank, the hairdresser and to doctor’s office on foot?


You can download the checklist here:

Is my neighbourhood suitable for people in old age - PDF, 87 KB