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Senior travel room-swap scheme

15 August 2014 07:57

Retirement home residents are travelling the world thanks to social network LinkedAge

Retirement home residents are travelling the world thanks to social network LinkedAge

A new social network is allowing older people who live in retirement accommodation to travel and spend time in homes in other countries.

LinkedAge, set up by Slovenian technology firm Socinet, is described as the world's first multi-national exchange for senior citizens in nursing or retirement homes.

Those who use it can rent empty rooms in homes or swap rooms with other people in a variety of locations around the world, but still receive the same kind of care.

One such user is 77-year-old Jozica Kucera, from Slovenia. She decided she wanted to spend some time in Spain so exchanged her Topolsica retirement home room for one in the town of Mataro, near Barcelona last month.

She did this without knowing a word of Spanish, relying on her English and German to communicate.

The deal was a straight swap of rooms between Jozica and 82-year-old Spanish man Miquel Ribas. Both enjoyed free accommodation, meals, medical treatment, activities and services. All Jozica had to pay was the air fare to Spain and her LinkedAge membership fee of 60 euros (£48).

It is always a good idea for older people with existing medical conditions to pre-arrange specialist travel insurance before they go.

LinkedAge works because it is supported by the European Association for Directors and Providers of Long-Term Care Services for the Elderly (EDE), which is based in Berlin. It is the largest body of retirement home services in Europe.

Before he became one of the founders of Socinet, Tomaz Lorenzetti, says he asked himself why an active person who could afford to stay in a retirement home such as his own grandmother would stay where they were if they could go somewhere else and be cared for in the same way?

Leading the LinkedAge project is Diana Galijasevic. She says it concentrated on Europe to begin with but care homes in Mexico and Indonesia are now part of its 100-strong list of destinations.