Putting Mom in a Home

January 5, 2014

We often get asked when the right time is to put an older loved in a care home, assisted living facility or similar institution.  Care for a loved one, especially if she has dementia, is a very personal decision.

Elderly Senior Home Care Assisting Reading croppedMany of the latest trends in this area can be seen in Europe, given its substantial aging population.

Many Swiss and German families have “exported” their loved ones to care homes in Thailand and other countries where the cost of labor is far lower.  It can probably be said that the attitude toward the elderly in these countries is also far different.

For family members that elect to send their parent away, the decision makes a lot of sense on paper.  The care is excellent, the caregiver to resident ratio is very high, the facilities are outstanding, and the culture is to be extremely respectful of seniors.  One daughter, who placed her mom in senior care home in Thailand, comments that her mom cannot recall what happened in the last 30 minutes.  Her mom forgets visits as soon as the daughter leaves, and all she really knows is that she is “in a very nice place”.

Financially, there is an argument.  Care at a high-end senior residence in Thailand costs $3,000/month.  Compare that with costs in the US of approximately $5,000 per month, in facilities that will have a far lower caregiver-to-resident ratio.

As our population ages, startling solutions like this are inevitable.  It is estimated that by 2050, the number of octogenarians will quadruple.  At that age, researchers estimate hat nearly 20 percent will have dementia.

Ironically, the people who work in the Thai facility would never consider this option for their own loved ones.  One caregiver was quoted as saying that if you have a daughter, she will take care of you at home, so there is no need for a facility.

As we wrestle with the best care for our parents, it seems there many things we can learn from the Thais.



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