Old trees can also be transplanted: The initiative "7 years longer" reports about a new beginning in old age
Moving is only for students and young families. That this is only half the truth is demonstrated by seniors who are ready to change their place of residence even in old age. The desire for a more beautiful living environment, for less rent and thus more pension in their wallets mainly pulls them from west to east, out of the metropolises and into smaller cities.
When Jürgen Fromberg saw Görlitz for the first time, it sparked immediately. This medieval old town center, the many splendidly renovated houses from the Wilhelminian era - there was nothing comparable in his hometown Ingelheim and also in neighboring Mainz, which was almost completely bombed out during the Second World War. That could be a good place to live for old age, thought Gorlitz tourist Fromberg and wanted to know more about it. With free trial living, the clever marketing idea of a municipal housing association, he tested whether the initial spark could become love. “I sat down and wrote a checklist with points that are important to me in old age. These include rental prices, living costs, medical infrastructure and cultural offerings, ”says the 77-year-old today. The big winner at the end: the East Saxon city of Neisse. Even though the Spanish Costa Brava and the Turkish Riviera were also available.
With 18 percent vacancy, an apartment was found quickly. 110 square meters, high ceilings, stucco and double doors. Rental price: including additional costs around 700 euros. A factor that noticeably upgraded his pension, because Fromberg had to put a good 300 euros more on the table for a comparable area in Ingelheim. In Wiesbaden, on the other side of the Rhine, he would hardly have got anything under 1,400 euros warm for a similar living level. So in 2010 the retired graduate engineer broke off all his tents and moved from the Rhine to the Neisse.
People like Jürgen Fromberg are a blessing for cities like Görlitz. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the town in the far east of the republic has lost around a quarter of its once 72,000 inhabitants. However, incentives such as a welcome package with electricity credits and free journeys in urban transport mean that more people have moved here instead of moving away since 2013. Almost 20 percent of Neugörlitz are 50 years and older, mainly from North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. “Seniors come from large cities and metropolitan areas, but also from residential areas that are a little out of the way and are therefore not particularly suitable for life in old age due to long distances to shopping or a doctor. Many have good pensions, but do not want to spend them on high living costs, but rather on culture and travel, ”reports Sylvia Otto from the city administration about the older immigrants.
Mainly due to the demographic change, the internal migration of the over 65-year-olds has been increasing for years: While there were still around 210,000 migrations in 1995, according to the Federal Statistical Office, almost 260,000 seniors changed their place of residence in 2013. "The motives are very different," says Klaus Friedrich, professor of social geography at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. “The majority, around 41 percent, use family networks and move closer to children in old age, for example. A third cites poor living and living conditions at the place of origin as the cause, a fifth opts for the classic retreat. ”Although the saying“ You don't plant an old tree ”still applies and seniors move on average three times less often than younger people "New" old people like Jürgen Fromberg a growing, more mobile group.
USA, England, Frankfurt - the Rhinelander was already on the road a lot in his professional life and also moved several times in Germany. There was no deep connection to a certain place. After the death of his wife and retirement, the question: "Was that it?" No, Fromberg he fulfilled a lifelong dream and drove tourists through Europe as a bus driver. After a million kilometers it was over and the Görlitz chapter began.
In contrast to the post-reunification years, it is particularly the east of Germany that benefits from the senior citizens who are keen to move, says demography expert Friedrich. And: While the boys are making pilgrimages to the metropolises, the over 65-year-olds are the only age group to decide against this trend. They are increasingly turning their backs on Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg and Co., causing losses to the major cities of West Germany in particular. Take Munich, for example: Between 2003 and 2013, the Bavarian capital lost a good 1,200 inhabitants aged 50 to 64 on balance and a further 2,000 residents aged over 65 years as a result of moving away. The ex-city dwellers find alternative residential areas in the more rural area. Especially in scenic regions, in small and medium-sized cities with cultural and leisure facilities and good infrastructure.
For example in Weimar. The Thuringian city has never explicitly promoted the target group of seniors. “The older people come by themselves,” says Mark Schmidt from city marketing. Weimar has recorded around 4,000 new arrivals per year since 2001, making it one of the few cities in the state whose population has been growing for years, has recorded growing purchasing power and has attracted investors who, among other things, close vacant lots. Around eleven percent of new citizens are older than 50 years, mostly educated citizens, attracted by the rich cultural offer, by big names like Goethe, Schiller and Bauhaus and - due to two universities - a young cityscape. So everything that a big city offers. Cheap rents on top.
Too little rent for rent - a fear that many Germans are already thinking about more flexibility in old age. According to a recent study by the real estate portal immowelt.de, 40 percent of the tenants surveyed can imagine changing their place of residence in retirement and moving to a cheaper area.
Thomas Beyerle, chief analyst at the real estate company Catella, is also convinced that the phenomenon of internal migration of older people will expand in the future: “It will not be a horde of hundreds of thousands of pensioners who travel with suitcases, but there will be many small ones Give waves. For example, high up in the north and deep down in the south. ”For example, regions like the Alpine foothills, Brandenburg districts like Oderhavel or the coast of the North and Baltic Seas have been experiencing growth rates of up to two percent for years when they are“ new retirees ”.
Ex-Rhinelander Jürgen Fromberg has since moved again. In a stately 163-square-meter apartment with his new partner. He has arrived in Görlitz. He is happy to accept the five-hour train journey to his children: “I just feel very comfortable here. I never regretted the decision. ”(Pm)