Massive shortage of care places by 2040

Massive shortage of care places by 2040

18.10.2021 Author/s: Dr. Heike Piasecki

A comprehensive study commissioned by Cureus looks for the first time not only at demographic trends, but also at the stock of care properties and construction activity. The result: if no more building takes place, there will be a shortage of around 168,000 care places by 2040.

Germany's population is getting old. By 2040, almost every fifth person will be older than 65. This means that the number of people in need of care will also rise. Of the 4.1 million people currently in need of long-term care, 20% will be cared for in a full inpatient setting; by 2040 there will be 5.59 million and probably 1.39 million who will need inpatient care. From the further increase in care rates in old age and the entry of the baby boomer generation into retirement age, a strongly growing need for care as well as for professional care institutions can be derived in the coming years. This poses enormous challenges for our society.

At the same time, the construction of new care places cannot keep pace with the growing demand at the current construction activity and speed. If the current construction activity of nursing homes is taken as a basis, the gap between required and existing nursing places will increase to up to 168,000 full inpatient nursing places by 2040. If the current construction activity of about 16,000 nursing places per year is continued, only 304,000 new nursing places will be created by 2040. This is too few: the occupancy rate of the available places in full inpatient care is already over 92 percent today and thus offers virtually no buffer. Ten out of 16 federal states already have above-average nursing ratios.

Despite current project developments, the nursing home market is ageing at a rapid pace. The modernisation projects that have been neglected for years and the lack of new construction activities are leading to a shift in the building age categories towards nursing homes that are predominantly 21 to 30 years old and those that are over 40 years old. Currently, 29 percent of the 15,400 nursing homes are older than 40 years. The strong fragmentation of the market as well as different legal requirements nationwide make it difficult to push new construction activities.

In order to draw a holistic picture in the analysis of the nursing home market, the study also looked at its players. In general, the data situation is difficult and the market intransparent. Twelve of the most important institutional owners were examined for the analysis of the portfolio holder market. Immac Holding with 10,218 inpatient care places and Deutsche Wohnen SE with 9,270 places have the highest number of inpatient care capacities among the selected institutional players. The analysis of the different players and fund companies, however, reveals a wide spread of the care capacities held. Cureus GmbH currently holds a portfolio of about 3,800 inpatient care places, more than 7,000 are under construction.


Note: You can download the study from the Cureus website.

Contact person: Dr. Heike Piasecki, Head of Division Residential and Branch Manager at bulwiengesa, piasecki [at]