Growing Up … and Old Without Nursing Homes

In modern and busy US and most European countries there are numerous nursing homes, adult-care facilities and assisted living centers whose primary goal is to care and provide the best living conditions for the elderly or disabled patients whose skills for daily living have greatly depreciated either by old age or prolonged illness. The nursing homes or Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) employ healthcare professionals such as nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse assistants, therapists and many others that work hand-in-hand in caring for the patients 24/7.

The situation is exactly the opposite in the Philippines and many other third world nations where economies aren’t humming as fast as America and Europe. Nursing homes are simply not the status quo for many reasons. Foremost reason is that these countries, like the Philippines, has a culture that expects the kin and a huge extended family to care for their elderly.  Just as parents are expected to provide for the children and make sure they have the best education possible, the children/grandchildren are expected by society to ‘give back’ by taking care of their parents in their twilight years. Traditionally, one person in the family is designated to care for the parents. A daughter is expected to care for both parents in their senior years, thus oftentimes ending up a matron. This was a practice that was probably brought to the Philippines by the Spanish conquistadores who were in the country for more than 300 years or for some other countries such as the Trinidad, India, Haiti, Caribbean Islands, Guyana, etc… simply an old-age tradition that just wouldn’t go away.

Click here for a video clip of the critically acclaimed book-film Like Water for Chocolate that required the protagonist to undergo such practice of requiring a member of the family to care for the parent/s.

In modern times, when the children started working abroad and inevitably leave the parents at home, they will setup a living arrangement for a distant relative to care for their ailing parents in exchange for lodging and minimal financial support. The more affluent ones will hire  professional nurses that manage the daily needs of the elderly patient. The goal is for the old folks to remain comfortably cared for in their own homes as they await their final days.

Historically, there was an exodus of foreign healthcare professional since the 1960s to the early part of the 1990s. The nurses and therapists were petitioned as either immigrant or on work visas by hospitals and for the most part, nursing homes. When they came to American shores, these new workers expected to be assigned at hospitals and other similar short-term care facilities. Little did they know that a lot of them will be performing jobs that is second nature to them — caring for geriatric patients.

Click here to view a Philippine McDonald’s commercial showing a granddaughter caring for her grandfather with Alzheimer’s condition. Subtitles are included.

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17 infants die in 48 hours at 1 Indian hospital

Start of an epidemic?

17 infants die in 48 hours at 1 Indian hospital – Yahoo! News.