Obersteinbach: A New Way of Life for Patients with Dementia

Elder people and caregivers sitting together around a big oval and wooden table
Maintaining individuality, habits, and personal preferences

Growing old with dignity, maintaining quality of life, and remaining as independent as possible - despite dementia - is exactly the challenge being taken on by the Verein für ambulante Sozialdienste e.V., an outpatient social services organisation in Obersteinbach, a village in north-west Bavaria. The association has created an exemplary new way of life for people with dementia in the form of an outpatient assisted living community. It's a form of care that has been little known in Bavaria to date. Instead of being cared for at home or in an assisted living facility, which often places a long-term burden for relatives, up to twelve dementia patients live together as residents in the spacious property in Obersteinbach. Each has his or her own room. They share common rooms, including the large eat-in kitchen and adjoining living room as well as a garden. Individuals are treated on an outpatient basis according to their individual needs. The family is free to select their preferred care provider.

The outpatient social services organisation has its premises on one floor of the building and can therefore offer intensive, round-the-clock care. The residents can remain in the community to the end of their lives. The close involvement of relatives is strongly desired by the association and even bindingly agreed upon in the lease contract. This means that the residents' individual biographies and personalities can be taken into consideration in planning day-to-day life in the house. As a result, the elderly are able to better maintain their habits and preferences. This includes, for example, participation in household tasks, caring for their pets, and tending the garden. Relieved of burdensome daily care duties, relatives can find more strength and enjoyment in spending time with their parents or grandparents.

The Software AG Foundation provided financial support for the renovation and remodelling of the residential community property, thereby investing in a pioneering project that makes it possible for people with dementia to spend the last part of their lives with dignity and individuality.