14 – Assisted Living for the Elderly Service –“ Living

Fact sheet no. 14

Many older people want to live independent lives in their own home combined with the safety of being able to quickly and easily get help in case of need. “Assisted living– or “Service-living– attempts to address these needs.“Assisted living,“ also called “Service-living– is a form of independent living in an assisted living facility that provides additional services and/or group programmes and community facilities. Senior residential facilities differ significantly from each other in terms of resources and the nature and scope of services offered. It is important to know that there are no binding regulations for “assisted living– or “service living– in terms of facilities, contractual provisions, and fee structure, or for the kind of services and care provided.When finalizing a contract, you should therefore pay close attention to the kind of services that are included in the rent and in the basic service provisions, and to the kind of selective services that are offered for an additional fee.Despite all offers and services of “assisted living–, it cannot replace the nursing home in every case, i.e. individuals with a high need for care may have to move again. It could then be an advantage if a nursing home were available under the same roof or on the same grounds.In accordance with the regulation by the German Institute for Standardization for assisted living for the elderly (DIN 77800), the following minimum standards, which, however, do not have to be observed by the provider, are recommended:Minimum standards for structuresIn accordance with the DIN norms for homes for the motion-disabled or elderly, the apartments should be constructed to accommodate mobility impaired people (e.g. without stairs or thresholds within and outside of the rooms, the front entry door, and apartment door, or in the access way to the house, to the apartment, to the balcony or terrace, as well as elevator with automatic doors, width of doors 80 cm, floor-level shower, and communal facilities.)

Basic Services

Basic services should include a (socio-educational) specialist who can provide information, consultation and facilitate services, a 24-hour emergency call service, janitorial services, repair services, and a cultural activity programme.

Elective services

Individually selectable services on request can consist of a security package in case of illness, required nursing care, home cleaning, communal lunch, laundry services, and a driving and escorting service.


The cost for assisted living is the total of the combination of charges for rent, basic services and elective services. It is important that the basic service costs are as low as possible since these basic services are covered by all tenants, irrespective of need. There should be two separate contracts: the rental agreement and the service agreement for basic and elective services. The contracts should be detailed and clear and list a verifiable statement of costs with unambiguous association to the individual services.

The consumer information sheet no. 15 (Checklist assisted living) helps with choosing a home for assisted living.