Which Country Has The Best Care For The Elderly?
By 2050, there will be 2 billion elderly people living on the planet – that’s about 20% of the total population – and it’s only going to increase thanks to longer life expectancy, partly due to advancements in medicine. So it’s becoming even more important to find the most effective ways of making life better for our ageing populations.
Looking at what’s working well in other countries is a good way to improve our understanding of the needs of the elderly – and to improve their quality of life. So which countries top the charts when it comes to senior health care?
- Norway boasts a quality of life for its elderly population that goes beyond straightforward care; there is also a well-funded care system, excellent public transport, high employment rates among older people, a wide range of social opportunities to remain an active part of the community, good quality public health care, and excellent natural resources.
- The UK is widely regarded as being among the best places for elderly people, especially in terms of our highly versatile care services. We have what is often referred to as ‘staggered care’ which means older people are gradually eased into care depending on their needs. Trained carers, such as our team here at Birchwood Care, are sent to the homes of those in need to provide the necessary care – making meals and getting washed and dressed – rather than giving them a straightforward choice between living at home or entering residential care.
- Belgium offers a similar system through its ‘service flats’ which allow elderly people to maintain their own space and independence, but which can also provide help when required. Respite facilities for short stays also allow loved ones to be able to take occasional breaks from their care duty.
- The US has a much higher retirement age than elsewhere in the world and some researchers believe this puts less stress on the care system as it makes older people feel wanted and useful – and of course keeps them mentally and physically agile. In turn, elderly Americans also enjoy their independence; a survey by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that almost 90% of older people said they want to stay in their own homes.
- Grants were introduced in Germany in 2013 allowing elderly people to live in a community apartment with one another – cohabiting and socialising when they want to, lowering cases of loneliness and the likelihood of placing them in a full-time care home.
- More Canadians are taking on the role of care provider, offering informal care for their own parents with over 30% of workers with older parents taking 450 hours a year of time off work. Likewise, less than 2% of the senior population in Italy use care home services as caring for older people is said to be the responsibility of the family.
When it comes to care for the elderly, there is no right or wrong – simply that the needs of the person who matters most should be at the heart of every decision. If you’d like to have a chat about the services we can provide here at Birchwood Care, please get in touch.
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