Elderly care in Germany

Updated 2022-11-15 12:23

Germany may not have the sunshine and beaches of the Mediterranean or Southeast Asia, but it is among Europe's most popular destinations for retirees thanks to its high quality of life, reasonable cost of living, and excellent healthcare. Also, the country offers great opportunities for enjoying nature and the outdoors, building relationships with your community and making new friends, and staying connected by air, land, and sea. So, if you are thinking of retiring in Germany, here's what you will need to know about elderly care.

Healthcare in Germany 

The German healthcare system is one of the most notable in the world, and people travel from abroad to be treated in one of the country's world-class clinics and hospitals. Outpatient care (ambulante versorgung) is provided by self-employed doctors and other healthcare professionals in their private practices or medical centers (Praxiskliniken). But your family doctor will be your first point of contact for any referrals to specialists, such as dermatologists, dentists, psychotherapists, gynecologists, etc. For emergencies in Germany (link to emergencies), you should head to the closest hospital that offers A&E services or call 112 for life-threatening situations.  

Care facilities for the elderly

Germany offers public and private health insurance options, making sure that the majority of the population has long-term medical coverage. As an elderly expat in Germany, you may find it is more appropriate to opt for private health insurance, which will also cover elderly care. Now, if you want to retire in one of Germany's private elderly facilities, many of which offer five-star services, you should check which insurance would cover such expenses or how much it would cost you if you had to fund your elderly care with your budget. On average, a place in a nursing home costs about EUR 1,900 per month, so it is understandable that anything above the average will be quite costly. 

The benefits of retiring in Germany

If you are considering retiring to Germany, you probably like the outdoors, nature, and an organized way of life. Even Germany's biggest cities, such as Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, offer endless possibilities of close-by escapes to breathe fresh air, enjoy a mild hike, or have a picnic. In the winter, German houses are warm and cozy, and you can use the cold weather as an excuse to invite over other expat retirees for game nights and dinners. 

Depending on where your pension comes from, Germany may not be the cheapest option for your retirement. However, if you look to rent accommodation in a rural area, you will find out that you can get a lot for your money. Other expenses such as the supermarket, entertainment, and cost of travel are quite reasonable. 

Entering Germany as a retiree

If you are an EU citizen and hold a passport from one of the Schengen member states, including Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland, you don't need a visa to enter Germany. Therefore you can arrive in Germany as a retiree without any preconditions. Citizens of third countries should check with the German embassy or consulate in their country of origin before arriving in Germany with a long-term plan to retire in the country. As Germany does not issue a retirement visa, you will most likely have to apply for a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), which is renewed every year upon conditions. After five consequent years in Germany, you will be able to apply for a settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). Regardless of the country you come from (an EU or a third country), you must register with the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within two weeks of your arrival if you will be staying in Germany for more than three months. The documents you will have to present are a valid passport, proof of address in Germany, a bank statement with your monthly retirement and other income, and health insurance.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.