Meta menu:

From here, you can access the Emergencies page, Contact Us page, Accessibility Settings, Language Selection, and Search page.

Open Menu



You are here:

The population in Germany and worldwide is getting older, at the same time more and more people are moving to cities. Therefore, healthy aging in the urban environment is an important topic for research and politics. That is why we will focus on healthy aging in the city as part of a research project in Berlin and Singapore.

The overarching goal of the study is to research the health and social needs of the elderly population in large cities. In the long term, the study results will contribute to improving the social and health care for older people in urban areas.

Study programme description

In each of three neighbourhoods in Berlin (districts: Reinickendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Spandau), 350 people over the age of 65 will be asked about themselves, their health, their well-being and their neighbourhood.

Potential participants are selected at random via the residents' registration office. They are then informed about the study by post and invited to take part. Participants are interviewed at home by project staff using a computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI). A follow-up survey is conducted after 12 months.

Additional in-depth interviews are conducted with some study participants in order to identify the subjective perspectives of the older population with regard to their social and health needs and their urban neighbourhood.

The study is also being conducted simultaneously by the project partners at the National University of Singapore in three neighbourhoods in Singapore.

Project partnerships

The project is a research co-operation between the Institute of General Medicine (Charité), the Institute of Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation (Charité), the Institute of Psychology (HU), the Institute of Geography (HU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Project funding

The project is funded by public funds from the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) and the National University of Singapore.

Project duration

April 2023 - March 2026



What is it about?
The aim of the study is to gain a better understanding of the social and health needs of older people in Berlin. This will enable us to better plan services for older people in your neighbourhood in the future.

Why was I selected?
The study is being conducted in a total of three neighbourhoods in Berlin. You were selected at random because you live in one of these neighbourhoods. We received your address from the residents' registration office in Berlin in accordance with §46 of the Registration Act.

Who can take part in the study?
People aged 65 and over who have received a personal invitation letter can take part in the study. Unfortunately, people who have not received an invitation cannot take part.

How can I take part?
In the next few weeks you will receive another letter with an appointment for the interview. On this day, a member of our study team will visit you at home to conduct the interview with you. The interview will take place at your home. We will ask you questions about yourself (e.g. family) and the topics of health, loneliness and your neighbourhood. So that we can better classify your information about your neighbourhood, we would combine it with general data about your neighbourhood. We would also like to do a little brain exercise with you and, if possible, measure your hand strength and walking speed. The interview, including measurements, will take about an hour.
One year later, we would like to interview you a second time to see if anything has changed in your life over the last 12 months. We would like to conduct another in-depth interview with a few participants. If you agree to this, we would contact you separately if necessary.

Do I have to take part in the study?
No, participation in the study is voluntary. You can only participate if you give your prior written consent. You can end your participation in the study or withdraw your consent at any time. If you withdraw your consent, no further data will be collected. However, the data processing carried out up to the point of withdrawal remains lawful. We would be delighted if you would participate in the study.

What risks or disadvantages do I have?
You have no risks or disadvantages. However, taking part in the study will take some time. You may find the measurement of hand strength and walking speed a slight effort. You should allow about an hour for the interview.

What are the benefits for me?
By taking part in the study, you will be helping to advance scientific research into healthy ageing in the city, enabling us to better understand what you and other people in your age group and in your neighbourhood need. With this information, we can improve medical and social services in your neighbourhood in the future. We will send you a summary of the results at the end of the study.

Who is conducting the study?
The study is being conducted jointly by Charité and Humboldt University (HU). The institutes conducting the study are the Institute of General Medicine (Charité), the Institute of Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Sciences (Charité), the Institute of Psychology (HU) and the Institute of Geography (HU). The study is financed with public funds from the Berlin University Alliance. The same study is being conducted in Singapore by the National University of Singapore to compare healthy ageing in the two different cities.

How is my data protected?
In this study, great importance is attached to the protection of your data. The legal basis for data processing is your voluntary consent (Article 6(1)(a), Article 9(2)(a) GDPR).
All data collected is only accessible to persons authorised by the study management. All persons who have access to your data are obliged to observe data protection. There are confidentiality risks associated with the collection, storage, use and transmission of data (e.g. the possibility of identifying the person concerned). These risks cannot be completely ruled out and increase the more data can be linked together. We assure you that we will do everything possible to protect your privacy in accordance with the state of the art and will only pass on data to organisations that can demonstrate a suitable data protection concept. There are no medical risks associated with data processing.

There are two types of data: personal identifying data and survey data. Personally identifiable data identifies you as a person, e.g. name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc. This data is stored under strict protection for a maximum of 10 years and then deleted. The storage is important for the proof of your consent, for possible queries and for further contact. This data will only be used by us and will not be passed on to unauthorised persons. Your data from the surveys will only be stored under a participant number so that it cannot be traced back to you personally (this is called pseudonymisation). The data that can be used to identify you will be stored separately from your answers from the survey.
Further information about your rights under the EU GDPR can be found in the enclosed additional information.


For what purposes and by whom will my data be used?
The study team will use your data for the administration and implementation of the study. The data will be scientifically analysed in pseudonymised form, i.e. without identifying you personally. To promote scientific exchange, we would also share the pseudonymised survey data with our project partners at the National University of Singapore and Humboldt University (HU). Singapore is outside the European Union and may have a lower level of data protection. With your consent, you agree that the data may also be transferred to our project partner there.
In accordance with the rules of good scientific practice, we will publish the results of the study in aggregated, anonymised form in publications and, with your consent, also in publicly accessible data registers. This means that nobody can draw conclusions about you personally. If you consent, we may contact you for future research purposes or follow-up studies.
Hopefully we have been able to answer all your questions. Please take enough time to consider whether you would like to participate.

If you have any further questions, please contact our staff.


+49 (0)30-450 514 113 


project lead

Prof. Dr. Wolfram Herrmann

Professor for General Practice, focus on health service research

CCM: Campus Charité Mitte

Project coordination

Marie Bolster

M. Sc. in Global Health and Development

CCM: Campus Charité Mitte

Project staff und Interviewers

These employees conduct the surveys in Berlin households for the study.

Doreen Kuschick

M. Sc. Public Health

Foto: Simone Baar, Charité
Mariyan Madzharov

Teaching office / Coordination internship GP

Foto: privat
  • Kirsten Benjamin
  • Jasmin Frank
  • Anton Holtz
  • Georg Nickel
  • Yana Zhou