Sometimes it can be interesting to see what other countries are doing with their senior care. At the very least, it can give us ideas of how we can better care for our elderly loved ones. Even if we decide not to use any of these other ideas and keep the models that we are accustomed to, we’ve tried to better things for our families.
In India, institutionalized senior care has long been seen as a negative thing. Elderly family members are typically cared for by other family members because it is not socially acceptable to use a nursing home or assisted living facility. This is beginning to change, though, as the growing Indian population is making it almost impossible to care for the large number of senior citizens without some sort of outside help. Nursing homes are becoming more widely used as a result of this.
India has the world’s second largest population, only behind the geographically much larger China. The density of seniors is much higher, and thus the problem seems harsher in India, although growing numbers of elderly people in need of assistance are occurring all over the world. And while nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been widely used in the U.S. for a number of years, there will be a lot of adjusting as they grow in usage elsewhere in the world.
The takeaway from this is that institutionalized care has been viewed as a last resort in many countries for a very long time. Why would this be?
There could be many reasons for this, but one stands out above the rest: family members place an importance upon being there for each other. Families are a place of love and safety, and to venture beyond that is frightening. No one wants to pawn off somebody that they care about on someone else, so they make sacrifices to keep them in the home.
The problem that arises from this is that subpar care can emerge as a result. Balance is needed.
That’s why in-home care has become such a popular choice. It keeps families together while still incorporating the benefits of a professional. Families are still able to be there for each other giving the love and safety that has always been there, but a professional caregiver is also present when needed to help fill in the gaps. The size of those gaps is unique for each family, but the dynamics of the family do not usually need to change to accommodate this.
Senior care conditions are changing for the better in India, and that’s a good thing. Not everyone has in-home care available, and not all needs can be met with this, anyway. There is still a long way for this country to go to catch up with the quality of care that is given in Western nations, but as the stigma against senior care homes disappears, quality will improve, too. The population there is fairly young, but the number of people over 60 is expected to be close to 200 million by the year 2030. There’s still time for reform, but it needs to happen quickly.