The task group on living at an old age
This group was founded in 2021 and has been meeting regularly ever since. Since a larger number of tenants have reached older ages, the group first collected data on the average tenant age structure.
Then the structural conditions of all the Luisenstadt buildings were inspected to better understand what architectural changes, i.e., elevators or stair lifts, could safely be put in place.
An inspection of all 21 buildings of the cooperative showed clear support for stair lifts and a decision against the installation of elevators. A survey among all Luisenstadt tenants indicated that 96 percent of those questioned would like to grow old in the cooperative and, during that time, would like to remain in their apartments and buildings. Moreover, 88 percent would be willing to pay a rent increase to cover the costs of installing stair lifts. Additionally, it was suggested to gradually improve accessibility for older tenants or people with disabilities.
Based on the survey, the task group developed the following recommendations:
Elevators are not recommended
Only in a few buildings could an elevator be installed safely from a structural point of view. With estimated costs of 300,000 euros per elevator and the expected high operating costs, an elevator is not considered a financially viable solution. We recommend stair lifts, which currently cost 30,000 euros, as an appropriate solution for barrier-free living in old age.
Recommendation to establish a Special Fund
We recommend setting up a small special fund to cover short-term improvements such as additional handrails in the stairwells, structural improvements, and grab bars in bathrooms. More extensive improvements would have to be covered by the tenants’ care insurance. Contact persons would be the supervisory boards of the respective buildings. Those board members would then, in turn, reach out to the office.
Recommendations concerning apartment exchanges
We propose to create a list with relocation requests for members who need to move out of their respective apartments for health reasons (i.e., being wheelchair bound and unable to live in a second or third floor apartment). We hope this measure will open medium-term possibilities for members to move to more conveniently located apartments on the mezzanine or first floor.
If such an apartment becomes available within the cooperative, it should first be offered internally as a swap option for the tenants in need before it is officially listed. The task group will be responsible for drafting a list of swap requests. These requests could easily be registered through the Luise website. Naturally, offers from current tenants to swap their apartments with someone in need are also welcome at any time.
A recommendation for stair lifts
In many of our buildings, stair lifts could be installed long-term, if required. With costs currently at 30,000 euros, this can be well financed by loans (with 10- or 15-year loan terms). The executive board and the task group propose that the house and the cooperative share the costs equally. In the case of single-tenant buildings, half the costs should be distributed among the tenants of the affected staircase. Community houses will handle the payment issue independently. Options for temporary and rare funding opportunities (loans or grants) from the “Investitionsbank Berlin Brandenburg” and the “Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau” as well as grants from the long-term care insurance, will be looked into by the task group before the beginning of the respective stair lift installation. The exchange of apartments takes priority over the installation of stair lifts.
Furthermore, the working group has compiled a small list with information about relief measures for the elderly and handicapped, nursing homes in Kreuzberg, and more.