Woonzorg Nederland is a national housing association aimed at elderly healthcare recipients. We own 29,000 independent rental residences and 12,500 living units in buildings that we rent out to healthcare institutes. We own property in almost half of all municipalities, spread out over the entire country. With this foundation, we are a considerable player in the field of housing for the elderly in the Netherlands.
To lift housing for the elderly in the Netherlands to a higher level, together with partners in living, healthcare and service provision. This is what moves us, because housing for the elderly is something that relates to almost everybody in our country; directly, or through family and friends. The demands placed on housing for the elderly are increasing. The senior citizen of today and tomorrow’s world is different than yesterday’s senior citizen. The generation that is now flowing into elderly housing is, on average, higher educated, more vital, more critical and digitally competent than previous generations. There are an increasing number of elderly people organising their own care and services, who require fitting living situations. The number of elderly has increased considerably due to the societal ageing. This presents Woonzorg Nederland with the challenge and the opportunity of seriously working on the improvement, transformation and innovation of its residential products and services. A task with which we can improve the quality of life of our residents in a meaningful way.
Different than what general assumptions would lead one to expect, we do not think all senior citizens want to live in their existing residences for as long as possible, to finally move to a nursing home in the final stages of their lives. Many will want to switch their family home for an apartment as an intermediary step, or better yet, switch to a living environment where they can continue to live regardless of their healthcare needs. In our view, protected living must meet two conditions: safety and community.
In the coming years, Woonzorg Nederland will be directing more attention to physical, social and fire safety, and we will be sharply focused on expanding the opportunities for our residents to be part of the community, so that they can fall back on a network of volunteers. Our complexes provide the space to meet each other and undertake activities together. Our resident consultants are watchful of signs of loneliness and, where necessary, will assist residents in reaching out to healthcare and service providers. In this way, we want to offer our renters the optimal conditions to live independently together. With this, we also contribute to postponing or taking away the need to move to a nursing home.
We know our residents
We work on a demand basis for our new constructions and concerning renovations; demand which is as closely connected to the needs of our residents as possible. This is why Woonzorg Nederland will be investing heavily in expanding its knowledge of its renters in the coming period. Using modern tools, we will be spending more time mapping out their needs to determine whether our living products and services actually meet the existing demand. Increasingly, we are involving resident organisations with the allotment of investments. In this, the digitisation of customer processes is considered by us to be an excellent tool to pave the road towards intensifying the human contact between resident consultants and renters. Via the promise to residents outlined in this business plan, we aim to clarify what exactly residents can expect from us.
Quantitative and qualitative growth
Due to societal ageing and the increased desire for senior citizens to receive healthcare outside of the walls of full-time healthcare institutes (extramuralisation), the number of senior citizens in independent living situations in the Netherlands is steadily increasing. As a result, Woonzorg Nederland aims to expand her supply of both independent and intramural residence units from 47,000 to 50,000 units. This growth will enable us to fulfil our societal responsibility in the future in the same way that we have done in the past. We want to continue our development in the whole of the Netherlands, but are looking for a certain degree of clustering in this. At the same time, we embrace our responsibility in areas where there is a demand for new, senior housing, but where there are no service providers to meet that demand. We do look at the societal environment in this. Does the municipality execute an active policy concerning residences for the elderly in the outline of its residential vision (Woonvisie)? Are there societal or healthcare organisations contributing to this in an innovative way? For new construction plans, we prefer locations that meet these demands. In this, we explicitly leave open the option of developing open locations in partnership with other investors, with the aim of creating a combination of private-sector rental residences, owner-occupied residences and/or healthcare-related real estate.
Healthcare-related real estate
We are specialists in healthcare-related real estate and, together with our healthcare partners, will continue to invest in new concepts. In this, there will be a shift from large-scale provisions to small-scale, more district-specific provisions, particularly for people suffering from dementia. Where necessary and possible, we will mix the real estate in combined projects with independent rental residences.
We will continue to play a leading role in the transformation of healthcare-providing buildings with the aim of separating living and healthcare. In this process, existing healthcare-related real estate will increasingly become multifunctional buildings with a neighbourhood- or district-specific range of healthcare and services. Buildings will gain a more hybrid character wherein healthcare, services and neighbourhood functions overlap. For us as an organisation, this means that we must learn to deal with increased flexibility; buildings have more renters that switch more often, and contracts have a shorter duration. This demands different skills and competencies from our employees.
As a societal organisation, Woonzorg Nederland considers self-evident to want to contribute to the agreements specified in the National Energy Agreement and the Paris climate agreement. We strive towards an energy-neutral portfolio in 2050 and towards an average energy label of B for all our residences in 2023. A condition is that the investments in sustainability do not lead to an increase in the cost of living; quite the opposite, part of the reason for our striving towards increased sustainability is to improve the affordability of living for our residents.
As a nationally-operating expert in senior housing, we are developing innovative living concepts and services that make the lives of senior citizens safer, more vibrant and more pleasant. We view neighbourhoods and districts from an integrated perspective, with the aim of creating a more caring society. We are looking for partnerships with leading municipalities, healthcare and wellbeing providers and other partners to achieve this.