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Sending Seniors Overseas: The Cost of Senior Care

News February 24th, 2015
seniors-overseas

More and more adult children are sending their parents overseas where they can afford the cost of senior care.

It sounds so strange on the surface, right? We specialize in senior lifestyle transitions (elder placement), and yet you probably wouldn’t guess that there are people who are saying, “You know where I could see your father living? Thailand.” In some ways it sounds like a dream come true – especially if you move them to the Philippines, which is sunny, austere and has quite the selection of beaches.

The Philippines is growing in increasing popularity because they are even marketing to elders with Alzheimer’s Disease. For someone with Alzheimer’s, the cost of senior care in Washington (specifically) can range from $3,500 to $8,000 a month, but in the Philippines $1,500 will do.

Similarly, Thailand is becoming a hot spot for affordable elderly housing, in addition to Mexico and even India.

  • Is this going to be the new trend?
  • If yes, will the cost of care rise?
  • Is this solution a temporary fix for a bigger problem; i.e. How can we afford the cost of senior care at home?

As with most changes, there are two sides of the argument here: for and against. So, we’re bringing you both.

FOR Sending Seniors Overseas

As Mary mentioned in an earlier article, there’s a “Quiet Crisis” coming in the next decade. Baby Boomers are retiring, less people are taking up the job as caregivers, and in Washington many senior housing facilities have waiting lists!

Add to this that the cost of senior care is rising and fairly high in some states – sadly, Washington being one of them – and you are faced with a tough decision already. Frankly, you may need to send your senior to another state to find affordable senior care; so another country is not so far-fetched.

In that regard, it becomes a question of “What level of care, will my elder receive?”

Well, caregivers overseas are fairly skillful, to a point where immigrating caregivers have an easier time receiving work visas than those looking for work in other fields.

In addition, there’s a cultural aspect that can’t be overlooked. On the eastern side of the world, there is much more emphasis placed on “respecting your elders,” so you know that they care and will continue to treat them with the kindness they deserve.

AGAINST Sending Seniors Overseas

When it comes to moving an elder (especially one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease), it’s going to be stressful and that stress is compounded when they realize they’re not in their own home anymore. This is most convincing argument against sending your elder overseas, it’s simply a matter of, “Is it the best thing for your loved one?”

It’s hard enough when the memory is fleeting, but if they’re living in another country with absolutely nothing familiar, that’s a recipe for disaster. In addition, not every adult child moves with their parents. So visiting can get expensive and if something dire happens, they may not be able to get their soon enough which is a doubly scary thought.

Now, that being said, a lot of adult children move with their parents to the foreign country… but even that shows it’s not for everyone, since that means uprooting your life as well. So, while the care may be cheaper, the visits to your elder can get expensive and if you’re leaving your life in America, that alone is a hefty sum.

Conclusion

Those seem to be the two prevailing arguments for and against, but what it really comes down to is what works best for your family.

For instance, if your elder does not suffer from Alzheimer’s or Dementia, then it may prove to be the endless vacation they were hoping for in retirement. However, if they are suffering from memory loss, it could prove immensely stressful.

The bottom line is, it is an option that works for some people.

Barbara Beskind: Esteemed Inventor and Technical Engineer at 89 Years Old
100 is the New 50: When Life Spans Match Health Spans

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