Life in old age is worth living

Life in old age is worth living

There are sentences like "it is important that one still has a task in old age, is involved, belongs to it". Something like this generates nods of approval from the 250 guests in the rossini hall. There is no doubt that henning scherf speaks from the heart of many people when it comes to the topic of "age in transition goes.

Scherf, 75, was mayor of the free hanseatic city of bremen for many years, is a social democrat, gray-haired, vital – a picture-book hanseatic who forces his way through the cramped rows of chairs in the rossinisaal before the lecture and buries everyone with a handshake, a winning smile and a friendly word.

On the day the SPD celebrates
He is far from being through all the rows when he is buried and introduced by markus robmann, president of the organizing lions club bad kissingen: "welcome to bad kissingen – on the day when the SPD in leipzig celebrated its 150th anniversary. Birthday." To which the guest replies with a mischievous laugh: "but i'm not doing any election campaigning tonight." Rather, he admits that he has never been to bad kissingen. But he has stated during his afternoon flying visit: "my topic is a central topic in this city."

And for the topic "life in old age" since his book "gray is colorful: what is possible in old age" was published in 2006 a much sought-after expert who combines general insights with many personal stories and anecdotes. He does not stand above the audience on the stage, but moves to the freely spoken word on the level of his guests: one spurts, the man needs for his message the closeness to the people he wants to reach. And these people are receptive to his messages, which can be broken down into three broad areas: "set out for yourself! Find a task! Shape your living environment through communal interaction!"

"There is no prince coming to kiss you awake", is his credo for a life with a sense of community and above all for intergenerational activities. His example is the regular visits of 30 "oldies" in elementary schools with a high proportion of migrants and exciting lessons for both sides: "you wouldn't believe all the things the kids are doing for me." Even therapeutic effects are described by dr. Scherf, when it comes to language blockades in demented people who have been drawn by children.

For the second area, "eating on wheels" is the central example, whereby scherf confesses: "i'm now a fan of making my own food – and doing it together." As an example he mentioned seven widowed ladies who still live in their own house and invite each other in turn. This results in a structure for the day, because cooking for others also means looking things up in the cookbook, trying out new recipes, going shopping, getting ready for the lunch invitation, but also looking after the others. In this way, a network is created by the way, in which everyone takes care of the others.

A life stage of its own
"My main topic, however, is "living together in old age" – and that's why the scherf family took care of it very early on. Because "when the children left home, a new phase of life began, our own". The scherfs, the speaker tells us quite openly, implemented this phase of life more than 20 years ago with a community of owners in bremen, consisting of elderly couples and younger tenants. Living together, living independently – that's how you could describe this form of housing, which henning scherf describes with euphoria.

Enough space for the grandchildren, instead of seven cars only one, joint vacations of the "racing cyclist scherf with the "electro-bikers of the WG, joint initiatives and interests "that's what bonds us together". This cohesion was put to the "nail test" when a fellow resident became terminally ill. Over two years, all-round care was provided with the help of outpatient palliative care. "The care experience and the dying support has shaped the community intensively", says scherf looking back.

Such housing projects should be demanded, because they create an infrastructure for the aging population – based on decentralized regulations and not a "central requirement from berlin". The audience also became lucid on the subject of care facilities, which henning scherf described as "unique in the world" qualified and this as a negative valuation meant. This is a rough economic market, but people don't want it anymore. The fact that even rough projects go bust is a sign that something else is happening. His observation: instead of senior citizens' residences, outpatient care and neighborly help are strong. For this there was much applause.

Question and answer session
In the following question round it concerned among other things around information to living facilities, which one could receive on local level. Because: "look in the region where you feel at home and not on ibiza."

One listener raised the issue of the spa zone bylaws, which prevent the conversion of vacant spa homes into senior citizens' residential communities in bad kissingen. Scherf confirmed that he had "such communal building sites" in mind known from other spa towns. Also the topic money was not left out and above all with an "age poverty" knotted, so that much that is desirable is not to be financed. Poverty among the elderly on the one hand and "pensioners with good purchasing power" on the other hand are the two sides of the coin, and these had to be "intelligently interlinked" the speaker said. But he remained guilty how this could happen.


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