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UK Dementia Congress 2020

11 Nov 2020

Bournemouth

Opting for the orient

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Last week, the Guardian ran a piece about the increasing number of elderly people who are finding care home places in other countries, notably Thailand. Families were doing this, said the article, because they are unable to source acceptable care for a loved one at an affordable price here in the UK.

I’m quite comfortable with this apart from it depleting our economy. But if our worst fears about the free movement of labour come about in the wake of Brexit, then it makes a kind of sense that, if the workforce cannot come to us, then we should go to where the workforce is.

Some might argue that this is cynical exploitation of cheap far-eastern labour by relatively wealthy westerners but from what I gather, positions as care workers are much sought-after in these countries; that the pay is above average and that employers have significant training budgets. And there is no lack of anecdotes from elderly expats expatiating about the marvellous care they receive.

There is also the consideration that UK universities are more than happy to include overseas students in their intakes, in fact they have to if they are to make ends meet, so if tertiary education is a global market, why not social care?

A lawyer has warned that pension entitlements may be affected if one goes to live abroad but this has clearly not deterred those who have already decamped; one must assume they did their sums.

In these days of Skype and other social media the ties that bind one to a place may not be quite so constraining. The idea of spending one’s final years or months in Thailand or Sri Lanka has a certain appeal; the last big adventure if you like, and it’s a great excuse for family members to make a holiday out of visiting.

So, unless our government acts to make social care the vibrant and egalitarian sector that it should be, the oriental option is likely to become increasingly popular. I like the idea of pushing my rattan zimmer-frame onto the verandah of a far-eastern care home to take-in the sounds and smells of a balmy tropical night.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

3 Replies to “Opting for the orient”

  1. Interesting Geoff. I wonder how many of those with romantic notions of, as you put it, pushing their rattan zimmer-frame onto a verandah, consider what checks and balances exist to ensure that when Skype is turned off, the care continues to be kind, compassionate, safe and caring? Whilst you may dismiss a 3 yearly visit by the CQC as ineffective, at least in the UK there is some comfort in knowing that should concerns be raised there is some likelihood that someone will visit to carry out an inspection. Better still, if the relatives are close enough to pop in from time to time, if nothing else it acts to keep providers on their toes. When looked at through this lens it doesn’t quite have the same romantic hue……..

  2. Interesting article and having established a UK standard facility in Sri Lanka just over 6 years, we have noticed a significant increase in the number of European inquiries we receive and are in the process of constructing chalet type accommodation for more independent clients. We operate the facility in accordance with CQC guidelines and our staff receive in-house training based on British caregiver training standards. Like all elderly care facilities we face significant staffing challenges and are looking to recruitment staff from neighboring countries as a mitigation strategy. But with fees approximately one third of what you’d pay in the UK/Western Europe, along with living on a 3 acre tropical estate, it’s an compelling alternative and becoming increasingly so.

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