A "garden of the senses" to enhance the quality of life of elderly persons

Retirement homes have existed in Germany for over 40 years. The Keil-Mettenhof facility, one of the first nationwide, supplies everyday help and ambulatory care to the residents and day clients who need them.

Social and Employment

City of Kiel, Land of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Hauke Godau

€10,000 to the Selection Committee at 2011/01/18

Project leader

Kieler Servicehäuser der AWO Schleswig-Holstein

With over 20,000 members, AWO (Arbeitwohlfahrt, a worker outreach nonprofit) of the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, is investing for a socially fair society. "Quality, Innovation, Responsibility" are the keywords of this nonprofit, whose directives have never changed since its beginnings in 1919. The nonprofit of the AWO Kieler Servicehäuser (the retirement homes of the city of Kiel) provides elderly or dependent people, in more than 50 centers of Land Schleswig-Holstein, with about 1400 persons to care for them, counsel them and accompany them.

To do this, AWO Kiel wants to refurbish the first retirement home of the AWO Kieler Servicehäuser, the Kiel Mettenhof facility. This home, a home-residence establishment with built-in everyday care, should be taking advantage of a "garden of the senses", open to the public, developed on 3000 square m of the present courtyard, whose potential has never been tapped.

Intergenerational exchanges

The project fits into the nonprofit's objective to create the right conditions so that elderly persons can live an independent life as long as possible, by giving them the possibility of participating actively in the social life of the neighborhood. Apart from a group of volunteers including residents and their families, AWO Kiel, to carry out this garden project, cooperates with a vocational school for social trades, food and construction and a vocational school for public works and gardening. Tranquillity, nearness to nature, relaxation and communication are the intended therapeutic effects. The aim is also to create broad intergenerational exchanges and to open the retirement home to the neighborhood. Also on the program are meetings and fetes of pooled activities, musical events, craft products with a school, dance festival and artistic activity.

The Veolia Foundation is backing this initiative, which participates in improving the living conditions of elderly persons and exchanges between generations.