The service will give pensioners information on health, care and social opportunities in their area, Source: Matt Bennett / Unsplash

Free home visits against loneliness spread to more Berlin neighbourhoods

Free home visits against loneliness spread to more Berlin neighbourhoods

The service is aimed at people over 70 and by 2024, the German capital hopes to offer coverage in the whole city

Today, authorities in Berlin announced that they would expand the anti-loneliness programme for senior citizens to new neighbourhoods after a successful pilot project. According to an official statement, the pilot project started in 2021 and is now spreading to Charlottenburg, Hohenschönhausen, Lankwitz, Mariendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Reinickendorf and the Allendeviertel.

The programme focuses on people over 70, who are at an increased risk of suffering loneliness and it provides them with home visits. In these visits, people receive letters and a meeting with a trained staff member, who will then inform them of the possibilities for social interaction in their area. According to officials, the goal is to be able to provide the service to all of Berlin from 2024.

It all starts with a letter

According to local authorities, Berlin’s loneliness service starts off with a letter. In this municipal service, staff actively seeks out people over 70 to offer them help, which is a key point of loneliness aid. The letter, offering a home visit, is sent from exporters at the Malteser Hilfsdienst eV, a charity NGO supported by the Maltese Order and Caritas.

If people are willing, they will get an in-person home visit with one of the Malteser Hilfsdienst staff, who will tell the 70-year-old about health, care and leisure activities in their local area. The focus here is to help old people make connections with others, which can improve their quality of life and prevent loneliness from deteriorating into depression in the long run.

Additionally, this offer is free, as the city’s Senate Department of Health is During the pilot project, the programme’s staff have already visited 350 people in Charlottenburg and Hohenschönhausen.

Senator for Science, Health, Nursing and Equality in Berlin, Ulrike Gote, was quoted in a press statement, explaining: "The information and guidance offered has been very well received. That is why it is now being expanded. In this way, we can open up new perspectives for older people for activities and participation in old age and show them that they are not left alone in Berlin.”



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