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Old 29.05.2012, 12:14
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Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Slowly but surely we do have to start thinking about a suitable place for my grandma. As she is American and speaks English only (does understand basic German), we are searching for a place where other customers/clients speak english or have an international background and of course where at least some of the staff speaks english. Ideally located on the Gold coast or Zurich.
Has anyone got any experience or know of locations?
Thanks!
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Old 29.05.2012, 13:59
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

First, it's a tad unclear from you post - is your grandmother already here in Switzerland, does she have a residence permit?

If not, have you looked into what it would take to get her a permit to live here? IME, this is a very large hurdle if non-EU; we learned that it would be very difficult to bring parents here - a generation removed even more so. (Assuming, of course that your parents were not already here - in which case they would be the sponsors.)

But assuming that there are no permit issues:

Are you looking for an 'active retirement community' as one finds in the US, or are you looking for a nursing home? I did not research the former, so I'm afraid I can't help there.

If an Altersheim/Pflegeheim - which tend to be more along the lines of a nursing home, with varying degrees of independence:

When we looked into this, some 5 years ago, there was nothing like what you describe. What one would need to do would be to check each facility individually. Of course it's quite likely that a portion of the residents will speak English, spome may have lived internationally before, and one may indeed find that some staff do as well - we saw several where that was the case.

But a place that is officially English speaking, where you are guaranteed to have an English speaker on hand at all times - very difficult.

Because of cost, many people go to the Gemeinde Altersheim, where there are cost reductions for residents of the Gemeinde. As such, these tend to be very 'local' - and the likelihood of finding English speaking residents reflects the level of English spoken in the community. But English mother tongue speakers might be few and far between.

Bear in mind that as one ages, one often becomes less flexible - use of acquired languages in everyday situations included... Would your grandmother find herself isolated in such an environment?

And because of the 'local-ness' of some homes, many of the residents have known one another for decades - it can be difficult to be an outsider in such situations.

This is one of the reasons that we decided against bringing my in-laws here; although the plan was for them to live with us we none the less had to consider the future, and so looked into nursing homes in Ausserschwyz and along the Zürichsee. Ultimately we felt the 80-something inlaws would not be able to adjust to a non-English environment, and inability to communicate one's needs in German might result in poor care. We felt that communication difficulties - including important cultural differences - would leave them far too vulnerable in a nursing home setting

Here's a list of Altersheim in canton ZH - your best bet is to start contacting each one. And I cannot stress firmly enough: personal visits - several - are absolutely necessary to really get a feel for the quality of the establishment:

http://www.senioren.ch/altersheim_zuerich.html

And finally - do be aware of the cost. When we looked into it, costs at Gemeinde-run homes depend on whether one is a CH citizen, Gemeinde resident, and permit type.

An alternative is to have your grandmother live with you, and hire nursing help (live-in is possible) as needed. If we had decided to go through with it, we felt this would likely have been the only workable solution for us.

Ultimately we decided that it would be unfair to uproot the inlaws and place them in a unfamiliar environment at this time in their lives.


Wishing you all the best - hope a solution can be found.
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Old 29.05.2012, 14:50
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Thanks meloncollie! Sorry, she has been living here for the past 50yrs so has the permit and everything. Of course we will look at all the places with her (after we have convinced her that it really is starting to become a necessity).
Thanks for the link. I ll take a look and also see with my parents. (the alternative is not an option, and a nurse hire neither as one of the main problems is that her appartment has 52 stairs to get to without an elevator)
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Old 29.05.2012, 14:53
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Yes, as meloncollie said, it might not be possible.

In addition to the permit, the cost, the language etc.. it might not be in the best interest of your grandma, all else considered.

We talked about this for one of my relatives as well, and decided to avoid moving them here at all costs. It is not just the language, but the culture and their ability to have some sort of normalcy in advancing age. Have a chat with someone, read the local newspaper, be able to appreciate the surroundings, etc... all nearly impossible and would do more harm than good in the particular situation I had.

Have you considered some of the many options in teh U.S., seems with eldercare and better communications, most is able to be done at a distance these days.
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Old 29.05.2012, 18:51
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Njusta, I feel for you - this is a very difficult time for families. Our elderly relatives want - indeed NEED - their independence. It's a matter of pride, a measure of self-esteem. One's home is more than a roof and four walls, it is the repository of memories, the physical reflection of one's life's work. One may need alternative accommodation due to physical difficulties, but leaving one's home is a huge psychological and emotional step. Here in Switzerland where many live in flats there is also the issue of leaving what may be a close-knit community of neighbors. An elderly person often needs quite a bit of time to come to the point where he/she is emotionally ready to even consider moving, and even more time to work out the practicalities. Gentle - very gentle - negotiation on the part of the family may be needed. And above all, support from the family is critical.

It's been a 10+ year process with the in-laws; the in-laws are not ready emotionally to leave their home, even though the time has long since past when physical difficulties mean that they should do so. At the beginning my role was to do the research, to have information ready at my fingertips whenever the discussion naturally turns to this topic - laying the ground work, so to speak. As they have become more frail, my job has shifted to included organizing renovations and bringing in services to take care of the everyday running of the house - I take care of as much of the practical details (from afar, and visiting every few weeks) as possible so that they can stay in the home they love, with minimal work.

Are there things that could be done to the flat immediately to make it easier for your grandma? Small things such as adding grab bars to the bathrooms, adding a place to sit in a shower, renovating or reorganizing the kitchen to make it easier for someone with arthritis, organizing deliveries of groceries, cleaning help, handy-man services, transportation, visiting nursing care - that kind of thing - can often take immediate pressure off the family. But if there are all those stairs and no elevator, there may be no option but to move.

Re: your initial question:

A new development is being built in Küsnacht, ZH. This will be senior housing, I believe independent living rather than a nursing home - but I think there will be senior services and care options available. It is on Allmendstrasse, just next door to the veterinary practice (which is how I know about this one, my vet and I have talked about this place). It's in the center of town, so the residents will be able to walk to the shops and cafes, etc. A brilliant idea, IMO. I don't know if this is public or private - I suspect private - but I'll try to find more info. It's just in the construction stage - don't know when it is expected to be finished.

Back when I lived on the right side of the lake, I used to walk my dogs by the Männedorf Altersheim. I would stop and chat with several of the residents every day; this got started because a lady heard me talking to the dogs in English and struck up a conversation. If memory serves, there were a good half dozen folks who became part of that regular 'doggy chat'... (and eventually these lovely folks helped me learn a fair bit of German). So - my impression was that the residents were indeed a rather international lot. Now: This was 10 plus years ago, much has probably changed. And I never saw the inside of the facility, we always chatted outside in the park area... but the Männedorf home might be worth looking into if you are looking for an internationally minded community - as would any of the Gold Coast Gemeinde homes.

But if your grandmother has been here 50 years, won't she want to stay in her community, where she knows what is where, where her friends are nearby? This is something one needs to consider carefully - the familiar becomes increasingly important for many elderly people. And in one's community one is known, remembered for all that one did in one's younger days - and valued for it. Moving somewhere new where one has no history can be very disorienting and disheartening for some.

On the other hand, some seniors relish starting a new chapter... it all depends on your grandmother's outlook. A delicate discussion for the family.

If nursing care is not needed yet, would a senior accessible flat be a solution? If so, finding something in the neighborhood might be an option or at least a temporary bridge.

As you are struggling with these issues, here is a resources that might be of help:

Pro Senectute, a group that advocates for seniors, provides a variety of services:
http://zh.pro-senectute.ch/
They should be able to point you to resources to help your grandmother.

Also Spitex can be a godsend if there is an immediate crisis:
http://www.spitex-zuerich.ch/

Most Gemeinden have someone who facilitates senior services, or at least an Infostelle. Speak to the folks at your grandmother's Gemeinde - they should be able to connect you to resources in the community.

If your grandmother is a church member, speak to the priest or minister - most churches have programs to help the elderly, even informal visits from parish members.



I'll keep an eye out for other possible resources, and post when I find something of potential interest. (This topic is frequently on my mind. )

I know all too well what you, your parents, and your grandmother are going through - and wish you all the very best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 30.05.2012 at 09:31.
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Old 30.05.2012, 09:54
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Thanks a million melloncollie. If you do find out the name/info on the project in Küsnacht I would love to know it (of course I ll check myself too). As grandma lives in Küsnacht now and has for the past 25 years that of course would be wonderful if she can stay in the Gemeinde (and keep some of her independence). Thanks again!
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Old 30.05.2012, 11:34
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Try Tertianum. They have several "residences" around the lake of Zurich and Zurich. Not in Küsnacht but Zollikerberg and Meilen. They provide both apartments where just the meals are included or Pflegezimmer. They are privately run and therefore not cheap but it might be worth looking. They also have Ferien and Probewohnen which I think is a great way to check out if you like the atmosphere. Here you can find further information. http://www.tertianum.ch/de

Good luck with this tough decision.
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Old 30.05.2012, 11:53
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

I'll be visiting the vet in the next week or so, so I'll stop by and see if I can get details on the project.

FYI, I found this group, Senioren Für Senioren Küsnacht Erlenbach Zumikon:

http://seniorenfuersenioren.ch/index2.php

Looks like some valuable resources here, including a Vermittlungsstelle for various senior services.

Also Gemeinde Küsnacht has a helpful Altersfrage page on their website:

http://www.kuesnacht.ch/xml_1/intern...2492/f2493.cfm

Including information on the existing Altersheim in Küsnacnt:
http://www.kuesnacht.ch/xml_1/intern...2440/f2441.cfm

It looks like Küsnacht is quite progressive in their senior services. Finding accommodation that is more suited to your grandmother's abilities - whether independent living or an Altersheim setting - but still in her community would be ideal.
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Old 06.06.2012, 20:11
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Hi,

Just read through the thread, I'll face the same problem with my mom very soon, although for my mom retirement home won't seem to be an option, she does not want it at all. I have a related question therefore: how much could a live-in care cost? I guess there are a lot of different arrangements, of course, but a rough range would be very useful.

Also I remember reading somewhere not very long ago about Slovakian and some other Eastern European clinics or companies that arrange this kind of services. Does anyone know about them?

Thanks!
KTZV
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Old 22.12.2012, 19:34
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Am dual citizen...born in zurich , 1934...[ classic "zuerihegel" ] stadt burger..but [stupidly? ] left to make my fortunes in USA....am now 78 with younger american wife..looking to return and retire back to my old "heimat" .

Still fit and mobile....however concerned about cost of living...our dollars are not as good as they where..and zurich way too expencive..???.
is it possible and financially [ with american social security payments] [ have a very small AHV rent,...did work for 8 years in suisse....] is it possible to survive decently back in our old "heimat" ????

Of course, do get a lump sum from selling our house here in the states...
maybe 500'000$ or so..but that does not purchase a dwelling over there?

any feed back?

Zurcher
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Old 22.12.2012, 21:38
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Meloncollie started a very interesting thread recently on the costs of residential care. I can recommend it, though it may give you nightmares.
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Old 22.12.2012, 22:21
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Quote:
View Post
Am dual citizen...born in zurich , 1934...[ classic "zuerihegel" ] stadt burger..but [stupidly? ] left to make my fortunes in USA....am now 78 with younger american wife..looking to return and retire back to my old "heimat" .

Still fit and mobile....however concerned about cost of living...our dollars are not as good as they where..and zurich way too expencive..???.
is it possible and financially [ with american social security payments] [ have a very small AHV rent,...did work for 8 years in suisse....] is it possible to survive decently back in our old "heimat" ????

Of course, do get a lump sum from selling our house here in the states...
maybe 500'000$ or so..but that does not purchase a dwelling over there?

any feed back?

Zurcher

When was the last time you were in Zurich and bought
- a coffee
- a sandwich
- a medium-sized piece of meat at a local Migros
?

That said, you could live frugal, rent small (I assume, you know about the rents nowadays...) on the country-side and when the money has run down, rely on Ergänzungsleistungen. I have no idea what kind of quality of living that would provide.
Do you get a pension in the US?
Can you transfer that here?
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Old 22.12.2012, 23:21
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Quote:
View Post
Am dual citizen...born in zurich , 1934...[ classic "zuerihegel" ] stadt burger..but [stupidly? ] left to make my fortunes in USA....am now 78 with younger american wife..looking to return and retire back to my old "heimat" .

Still fit and mobile....however concerned about cost of living...our dollars are not as good as they where..and zurich way too expencive..???.
is it possible and financially [ with american social security payments] [ have a very small AHV rent,...did work for 8 years in suisse....] is it possible to survive decently back in our old "heimat" ????

Of course, do get a lump sum from selling our house here in the states...
maybe 500'000$ or so..but that does not purchase a dwelling over there?

any feed back?

Zurcher
What about living in a cheaper Canton neighbouring Zurich?
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Old 22.12.2012, 23:28
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

Indeed, there are plenty of places where you can buy a really nice place for that money, or indeed much less - or invest and rent - but you are right, not Zurich. Then get help in as and when required.

We intend to stay put when we get too old to look after ourselves- and to get help in our own home, on a daily basis at first, and eventually residential if necessary. Much much cheaper than an institution - and so much more enjoyable. Njusta could your grand-ma have a residential helper?
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Old 13.01.2015, 03:29
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Re: Retirement Home in ZH with international people?

hello i can see that it has been some time since you posted this about your mother .can you please tell me what you found in the end for her .i am dealing now with exactly the same situation . my mother is from new jersey but has now lived most of her life in zurich however she never could master german and now she is turning 90 . the building she lives in is being torn down and i have to move her . i do not live in switzerland any more and now live in usa so i am far away. i want to put her in an independant living situation where i know she will not be alone. and people there incase she needs help. any ideas at all would be extreamly helpful. also if anyone has older parents out there english speaking i would love to put them together with my mom she is very outgoing and still gets around great, just lonely for english speaking people just even to have coffee with at Migrows .she lives about 15min on tram from the city.
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