Mar 18, 2008
Quickie Link: Gay and Grey in Berlin's New Old People's Home
(Germany) - A fluffy yellow bedspread is severely tucked around the hospital-style bed, there's a wheelchair-accessible shower and a token pot plant. At first glance, the Asta Nielsen Haus in Berlin looks like the average old people's home. But this is a pioneering facility - the first in Europe to cater exclusively for Gays and Lesbians. The idea of a Gay-only project for elderly people was first mooted at a "Gay and Grey" congress in Cologne in 1995. It reflects fears among Germany's first openly Gay generation about what will happen when they are too frail to care for themselves. "At the moment, most Gay and Lesbian residents keep themselves hidden. Imagine one Gay person in a home of 100 people. It can be lonely and isolating," says Christian Hamm, who is on the board of the organisation behind the care-home plan. Hamm and his associates are now drawing up plans for an assisted-care retirement centre for Gay people in another Berlin district.