Germany – New Lazarus House Opened


Youngsters and seniors together under one roof.

On the first day of August 2014, The Lazarus-Hilfswerk (LHW),  opened its unique project in the Heerstrasse, in the town of Bergheim. In a perfect combination, senior citizens from the elderly day care center and children from child care were brought together under one roof.  

The LHW,  founded 40 years ago as charitable arm of the Humanitarian Grand Priory of Europe (“GP-EU) 40 years ago  presents in its anniversary year  an unique perfect project, which is intended to be repeatedly build  and run  by Lazarus also in other regions. 

The small and large visitors at the day care center are together to share everyday life as much as possible, in a cozy corner of the Heerstrasse neighborhood. This is the fulfilment of the different requirements of course. These encounters between young and old provide tremendous enrichment for all involved. 

Before the facility’s grand opening, the Bergheimer City administration and the Lazarus-Hilfswerk had cordially invited all interested parties to attend an information meeting that was held on Monday, June 30th from 14-17 o’clock in the Bergheim City Hall.  The first part of the meeting involved the relief and works agency Lazarus presenting its concept of the perfect combination that bridged generations; specifically, how young and old can be brought together in harmonious social settings.

In the second part of the meeting, participants discuss divided into two parallel workshops, where they discussed and explored aspects of the day care center and elderly care under the two topics: “How much the old can tolerate the young and, how much the young can handle the old?; and in contrast, “I’m so happy with this that I cannot get enough?”

The results were presented at the end of the meeting, which helped the LHW in its further development of the facility.

It is the aim of elderly daycare that older people – even if they are in need of care – have the option of living in a familiar environment and enjoying a self-determined life within the privacy of their own four walls.  Enjoying life in a familiar environment often has challenges involved, and this can also include challenges for relatives.  One problem is often the sheer loneliness of the persons concerned: without relatives, neighbors or friends to take care of them; also, the limitations of outpatient services. On the other hand, family caregivers need a break, too.  To better understand how Lazarus House works, the following provides an insight into the seniors’ routine at Lazarus elderly day care centers.

Lazarus day care centers operate Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 16:00 hours, and the following services are provided:

Ÿ  Balanced meals (if necessary, special meals are also provided for individual dietary requirements)

Ÿ  Basic care (e.g.  washing, incontinence products)

Ÿ  Therapeutic offerings that can include:

Ø  Relaxation exercises

Ø  Concentration and brain with quizes, board games (such as exchange of memories), reading groups that listen to stories and poems

Ø  Handicrafts to maintain or improve motor skills

Ø  Domestic activities such as joint preparation of meals, cakes, or baking cookies

Ø  Common dance and music

Ø  Social advice and support

In Bergheim our LAZARUS day-care center opened in August 2014.  At that time it was also immediately connected with the pilot project involving the perfect combination. 

Joint Offerings for Young and Old

Ÿ  Generations are brought together

Ÿ  They find common ground with each other, and improved inter-generational understanding

Ÿ  Opportunities for mutual learning from each other

Ÿ  A daily life is enjoyed together.

A team of teachers, special needs teachers, nursing care technicians, and accompany staff support everyday life for the young and old.   If you want to volunteer, please contact: Lazarus Hilfswerk , Luxemburger Str. 305, 50354 Huerth, Tel. : +49 2233 9725-0

Shortly before the completion of the St. Lazarus House at Heerstrasse, Bergheimer Mayor Mary Pfordt was convinced by senior citizens that “perfect combination” improvements should be made to the senior day care center under construction on Heerstrasse. Only a few things were necessary to change, such as floor coverings and fixtures. “I am excited about how quickly – thanks to the modern, modular design of the day-care center here in Bergheim – which will also have young and old together due to their shared connection to a daycare center. The need for day care services is large and with the new setup we can support many families with needed care,” said the Mayor.

The present senior citizens gave their enthusiastic response to the facility’s light-filled rooms and a large rooftop terrace. “You could feel very comfortable here, and we are already looking forward to the meeting of the children and seniors. This is certainly going to be a thrilling time to be together,” says Rudolf Orbons.

Furnishing began in early July, after which everything was properly cleaned.  From the first day of August, every day (Monday to Friday) 14 elderly day care guests can be hosted. Daycare services even include the elderly with dementia. The main objective of day care services is to relieve family caregivers. Theses family caregivers have the opportunity to treat themselves to a break for a few hours, or even work.  Day care guests can come to the facility as needed, for example, for one day each week; or even, for every day of the week.

The Lazarus House in Bergheim is a two-story building of modular design, with 903 square meters of floor space. The basement includes the day care center for 40 children, ages two to six years. On the upper floor are specially designed, modern rooms for 14 senior day care guests.  Other facilities include staff and services areas. Mrs Vera Becher-Andre. project-leader in the LHW Headquarter: “According to our research this is the first institution in Germany where children and elderly care are brought together under one roof.”

The cost of nursing day-care is partly co-financed by insurance.

Interested parties can discuss prospects for day care with the Lazarus-House Director Diana Augusta, at telephone number (+49 2271) 6791110.  She can discuss any insurance arrangements, as appropriate.

New friendships with a large age difference

The Lazarus House was constructed from a total of 18 prefabricated modules.  The design allows for independent operation of the two day care centers, all under one roof.  The design features separate entrances for the pick-up and drop-off for the two day cares. However, it is still our goal to have a design and flow that allows for as many points of contact between old and young, as appropriate. We have, due to our extensive experience as an operator of seniors living facilities, that involving children in the lives of the elderly is very beneficial.  Our experience with this in the past has always been very good, especially if we regularly invite kindergarten children to participate in joint activities with the elderly. Both sides have benefitted enormously.” 

The professional team of Lazarus Hilfswerk brings their experience and expertise in the child and youth welfare, and with elderly care, together in this single project. From the past positive reactions on both sides – young and old – came the idea to intensify such an exchange. By accommodating two day-care facilities in one facility, Lazarus Hilfswerk believes it has an ideal model in this exemplary intergenerational project. The uniting of generations de emphasizes isolation and alienation. Because this is still a model project, Lazarus will ensure relevant social and scientific monitoring so it can evaluate the usefulness and benefits of this new social concept.

When young Paula (4) interacts with Elfriede (88), both benefit

“Sing, play, move about, baking, crafts, reading aloud,” says LHW-Project-leader Vera Becher-Andre, the project-leader “there are many opportunities to bring together the generations.” Consider for example, memory.  By having the children work with seniors, the elderly actively use their minds by forming new, happy memories. Besides their common fun, in particular for the seniors, they get satisfying feelings that their everyday life is put to good use. “We see both in the older people as well as with the children that joint play increases self-esteem. Another positive effect is that the elderly provide – especially for children with immigrant backgrounds – a fixed contact person, and this makes their social and cultural integration easier. This works both ways as possible reservations are reduced, and we can see their intercultural understanding flourishing.”

A building that holds the youth

Lazarus Hilfswerk provides a new social science concept by combining child and senior care services, realizing that this is a “can” innovation, and not a “must”.  Whether old or young, it is left up to each individual to participate in the joint activities. And this has been taken into consideration: the layout of the child care center is subject to the specifications of the Rhineland Regional Authority. In addition to the breakout rooms (rooms for groups) with the corresponding relaxation rooms, there is also a multi-purpose room where the generations can mix and where free play is used. In addition, the center’s layout is adapted to the educational concept in a way that does not require much psychomotor performance: the entire facility is accessible for our disabled guests.

The interior design in the child day care center allows for the needs of all children, including those under three-years. Everyone is taken into account. The interior design will be further improved as the facility gains experience with its layout, and this will be an ongoing process. In the children’s day care center itself, the statutory requirements of 18 square meters per child is met.

The facility’s outdoors areas include seating for the elderly. For children to play with toys, large open outdoor spaces are planned. A special feature is the common garden area. It is as a vegetable, herb and flower garden. Young and old will plan together the planting, cultivation, care and harvest of their crops.

The building has been organized jointly by Lazarus with the Kleuber timber construction company , and is designed so that allows for great flexibility and future improvements or renovations. This means that, depending on the Lazarus House’s demographic development, it can – without any major construction costs – be converted into a single-use child day care center; or into a seniors-only day care center.

Mommy, can I we leave earlier to get to my day nursery?

We should all first look forward to the new and innovative double-use day care center in Bergheim.  This is a town where there is an urgent need for both child and seniors day care. Together, Lazarus-Hilfswerk  and the GP-EU enjoy a long institutional connection to local governments and  involved authorities:  a further reason why the model project has a great future.

Mutual Benefits  for Child and Seniors

According to Grand Prior Klaus-Peter Pokolm, “Even for purely organizational reasons, for this social integration project, it is perfectly planned by our Lazarus-Hilfswerk Team. Seniors and children have the same drop-off and pick-up times, the same meal times, and same play and services periods. Between the children and seniors, there are many parallels in their daily routines, and also in their interests. For both working families and single parents, having both children and older people together at the day care center provides an ideal solution that provides welcome relief during the weekday to relatives, who remain the primary care givers.”

“The intergenerational  care in the St. Lazarus-House is not only a convenient option for those caring for both parent and child, it actually provides unique benefits unavailable in traditional day care.”

Translation from German to Enlgish was provided by Chev. William Cox, KLJ