The government wants more senior-friendly homes. This includes looking at Rotterdam, where they have what is called a house plus apartments. These are private residential apartments between the home and the nursing home.
Atie Schipper and Ada Straatsma have been living together for years in their five-room apartment in the Rotterdam district of IJsselmonde. We are called ‘girls’. They have to laugh at themselves a little. “I’m in my mid-80s,” says Ada.
“house plus apartment”
“If people need help, the neighbors always say: Just go to the girls. And then we’ll see what we can do,” they say. Their apartment is located in one of the six apartments that have been renamed a house plus apartment by the municipality of Rotterdam.
In IJsselmonde, these are two large apartment buildings from the 1960s, connected by a common space on the ground floor. People here live independently in their rental homes, and take care of their elderly neighbours, too.
“You have to be open to lending a helping hand,” Atti says. “Like someone who’s had a cataract operation, for example. Then he’ll ask, ‘Can you come in and get a drip? We’ll do that, because then the district nurse doesn’t have to come,'” Ada adds.
“We don’t get into everything,” Atti says, laughing. “Of course I wouldn’t whitewash someone else’s wallpaper. We know our limits.”
As a result, the occupational prevalence of care decreased. The building also houses an office for the welfare organization Aafje, where residents can seek help. “If we can’t help it, we say, ‘Go to the second floor,'” says Ada. “This is where the Marloes are, and you can go there with your questions. And if it’s really necessary, help will be posted too.”
Marloes van Gelderen is Aafje’s coordinator of the house as well as the apartment. “People can ask all kinds of questions here. About care, well-being, but also practical questions like: How do I apply for a DigiD? Carers are also knocking on my door.”
More suitable living space for the elderly
The government wants to invest heavily in housing that is more suitable for the elderly. To this end, the Minister for Long-Term Care and Sport and Minister de Jong for Housing and Spatial Planning are working to join forces with their Program for Housing and Care for the Aged.
It states that they want to speed up housing construction and ensure that of the 900,000 homes to be built before 2030, 290,000 are suitable for the elderly.
There should also be enough facilities in the neighborhood so that the elderly can continue to live fit, happy and independent for a longer period, that is the idea. Building suitable homes for the elderly will also increase the flow of people into the housing market.
Various activities are also organized in the apartment, such as sports activities on Friday afternoons. Residents also run a second hand shop, and there is a billiards room. “It combats loneliness,” says Van Gelderen. The house in addition to the apartment also saves a lot of money, because the care is concentrated.
“For example, we started a local cluster support team. Normally, these people would move from Address A to Address B, but now they only work in this complex. Instead of the 69 different staff we have in this apartment, there is now only a 15-person team.”
“The perfect form of living”
That’s why Sponsorship Board Member Ronald Puigt calls it a win-win situation. Rotterdam Municipality wants to build 14 more homes in addition to apartments in the future. It is funded by the Social Support Act (WMO).
“It’s the perfect format for living between people who can live at home for as long as possible and a nursing home,” says Buijt. “And there wasn’t really anything in between. The house plus the apartment actually provides everything you need: comfort, symbiosis, and care.”
There is no solution for nursing care
Therefore, the government considers the house and apartment as one example of how elderly care can be organized differently in the future. Due to a staff shortage, there are no more nursing homes for people in desperate need. This means that nursing home spaces can also be accommodated in the home as well as the apartment.
But Buijt thinks this is a bad idea: “Of course we think it’s important that people continue to live independently for as long as possible. But at a certain point people need care, which is not available in places like this. This house plus apartment is not a solution to these the problem “.
View the report on this topic here