Germany’s old sent overseas for better health care


Germany's rapidly aging population

Germany’s rapidly aging population

German social welfare activists call it ‘inhumane deportation.’

But, there is no denying the reality that Germany has one of the fastest growing populations of elderly and with the long-term health care cost rising and actual care standards falling, one of the best solutions citizens of this country have found is to send the elderly and the sick overseas for treatment, rehabilitation and retirement, where cost is much cheaper and quality of care and attention given to patients are far better.

Reports say that an estimated number of over 7,000 have already found homes and/or rehabilitation centers in Hungary, 3,000 in Czech Republic and 600 in Slovakia. An unknown number is said to be heading to Spain, Greece, the Ukraine, and even in such distant places as Thailand and he Philippines.

What is aggravating the situation is that the country’s care industry itself suffers from lack of workers.

With Germany’s population expected to shrink from almost 82 million to about 69 million by 2050, one in every 15 – about 4.7 million people – are expected to be in need of care, meaning the problem of provision is only likely to worsen.

Willi Zylajew, an MP with the conservative Christian Democrats and a care service specialist, said it would be increasingly necessary to consider foreign care.

“Considering the imminent crisis, it would be judicious to at least start thinking about alternative forms of care for the elderly,” he said.

The alternative of having the elderly and sick folks shipped over to eastern and southern Europe and in South East Asia, including the Philippines, is very much welcomed in these countries since providing health care services is perceived to be a rising industry that is not only growing, but also considered as highly profitable business.

Christel Bienstein, a nursing scientist from the University of Witten/Herdecke, said many German care homes had reached breaking point due to lack of staff, and that care standards had dropped as a result.

“On average each patient is given only around 53 minutes of individual care every day, including feeding them,” she said. “Often there are 40 to 60 residents being looked after by just one carer.”

Artur Frank, the owner of Senior Palace, which finds care homes for Germans in Slovakia, said that was why it was wrong to suggest senior citizens were being ‘inhumanely deported’ as claimed by the social welfare activists.

“They are not being deported or expelled,” he said. “Many are here of their own free will, and these are the results of sensible decisions by their families who know they will be better off.”

One simply can’t argue the validity of this argument that has the utmost interest of giving the best care and affording the continuing dignity people deserve in their sunset years.