Community fosters openness and individuality
Common ground starts with values – and ranges from fun through involvement to supporting one another in the final hours.
Activities and joy
Excursions, concerts, seminars or countryside walks: a team-member organises activities for fun or for quiet reflection. Residents will invite you to their regular sessions, for example for brain training, drawing or yoga. The offers are intended to keep your mind alert and your body fit. Depending on their preferences, the women and men will enjoy singing, baking or gardening. Cycling tours, city trips and museum visits will add variety. Italian courses facilitate connections with the local community.
There is always a reason that calls for celebration. A village fête or invitation unites people of all ages. Mealtimes alone present a good opportunity to be social and to have a laugh. For special occasions, we add fish or seafood to an otherwise vegetarian or vegan menu, as this is the preferred diet of our community. A gluten-free option is also available. We eat healthy, but above all tasty food.
Swimming, hiking or dancing – keeping fit is key! Gym mats, table tennis bats and hiking sticks are waiting to be used. Or how about a gentle shoulder rub from a fellow resident in a protective environment? Rediscover long lost skills or try out something new like needlecraft, photography or pottery. Spending time in nature and using spiritual techniques all serve to declutter the mind. Singing or making music is satisfying for the soul. If residents want time for quiet reflection, there are dedicated spaces for this, too. Or they may retreat to their private rooms.
At the Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus, residents have much more say than in your usual retirement home: communication is key to planning and decision making. They listen to each other in times of joy or sadness. Community members offer a helping hand where it’s needed. For instance, they read to or run errands for persons in need of care. Naturally, everyone only does as much as they want to, and no-one goes beyond what they are capable of.
Permanent residents, as well as guests, carry out some tasks. A knowledgeable organic farmer instructs and assists with growing fruit and vegetables. Staff and habitants cook and bake together. Those who are a deft hand at fixing things attempt small repair jobs. The community will improve their home, for instance by building a Kneipp walking pool or establishing a library.
In addition, tenants organise regular hobby groups that promote everybody’s individual development. All community members can make good use of their skills. Whether we have a gardener, accountant, artist or lawyer in our midst, everyone can enrich our experience. And when there is a lack of expertise, teamwork coupled with an open heart will achieve surprising results.
Health and fitness
Those who can, may exercise outdoors or on-site. While those who are less able to do so can join gentle stretching classes. But what happens if someone gets injured or sick? In such an event, EU citizens will be able to draw on the medical expertise of an Italian physician or the Italian national health service, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN).
A lot of joggers, mountain bikers or swimmers tend to enjoy their sport better in a group. Whilst for badminton, bowling or dancing you always need at least one other person to take part. Kneipp therapy, volleyball, gymnastics and many other exercise types form a staple part of the activity programme. When mobility becomes a problem, gentle walks, massages and chair-yoga strengthen the muscles and ease tension. As a result of these, and not least thanks to meditation and various forms of yoga, mind, body and soul will find the deserved rest.
Thanks to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), EU citizens visiting Italy can see an SSN doctor or seek admission at a registered clinic, with support from an interpreter if needed. After taking up permanent residency in Italy, it is necessary to register officially, which permits access to all healthcare services. However, dental treatment is always paid privately. After a start-up period, German-speaking nurses, care assistants and therapists will be working at the Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus. For any potential long-term or complex treatment, patients will easily be able to access facilities in their country of origin.
Twilight years and care
Our communal living makes it easier to cope with the aches and pains of advancing years. Mutual respect even eases the challenges of dementia. Your own strength of character is what enriches the experience of later life at the Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus. Besides, professional German-speaking care personnel will gradually take on all age-appropriate healthcare – right down to palliative care. And last but not least, we will be applying to establish a nearby cemetery, so that no one has to leave us even in death.
The Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus ought to be your final home – no more moving, if at all possible. Our goal is that none of our residents should need another care home or hospice. To achieve this, we are investing in care personnel and medical equipment. Together we shall overcome the challenges of receiving nursing care in a foreign country. Thanks to their statutory national insurance contributions, German nationals are entitled to a care allowance. But the German care insurers do not cover hospital treatment. EU citizens who are permanently resident in Italy are subject to national law, under which, sadly, no statutory nursing care insurance exists. But you have the option of taking out a private nursing care insurance to cover all eventualities.
In good time we will talk about how we wish to be cared for, including how we would like to depart from this earth. With humility and dignity, we will face death: accepting it as part of life. Friends and relatives will have the chance to say their good-byes in a designated room of mourning. They will then accompany the funeral procession to the cemetery. Or, if previously requested by the deceased, transportation to Germany will take place. At the funeral we will celebrate each person’s life in the way they would have wanted us to.
We love the diversity of different heritages, life stories and traditions. Despite differing opinions and ways of thinking, there are values such as integrity, openness and trust which will bind us together. Ignorance and narrow-mindedness are where we draw the line. Yet tolerance alone is not enough for us, as it sometimes harbours rejection deep-down or simply reflects indifference: We believe in mutual acceptance of one another’s world views and way of life.
We gladly question and renew our values – after all, we’ve been around long enough not to accept our word as set in stone. ‘By their deeds you shall know them’ – this wise sentence from the Gospel of John is equally apt for the believing and non-believing amongst our residents. We are honest with one another and show our feelings. We refrain from secrecy since it goes counter to our principle of openness. At the same time, we respect each other’s privacy.
Many residents believe in the act of providence and guidance – whether by God, nature or through cosmic energy. If spiritual or metaphysical ideas don’t float your boat, try at least to trust in yourself and others. Hold on to the hope that everyone of us can do good. Beyond all this, we want to act sensibly, reliably, selflessly and with empathy.