Before the New Year’s holidays, my niece, Q, who immigrated to the Netherlands came back for the holidays, she’d come to my house to wish me a happy new year, and, through our conversations, she’d learned, that her uncle, I too, worked in the areas of “providing home care services”, she’d immediately given me the thumbs up.
Turns out, there is a huge problem surrounding the placement and care of the aging population in Europe. Q made the example of how in the Netherlands, it is too hard, to get a room, in the nursing homes, plus, the fees for the manual care is extremely high too, the nursing homes had a ton of difficulties, paying the wages of the professionals, let alone, caring about the social welfares of the residents.
So, there were, some of the nursing homes overseas that used “exchanging manual labor for extra time”. Q saw how interested I became, continued, “If you want to place your own parents into the nursing homes, then, you must set time aside, to volunteer there first, anything from reading to the elderly, to cooking for them, to stroll with them, to hear them recall their pasts, and, all of these are not, included as the job descriptions of the real care providers.”
“Recently, there were a lot of people who’d gotten involved here in Taiwan, it’s just, that the younger generations lacked the patience, or the time.” I’d told her.
Q extended her arms, “there’s no way around it, because in order to exchange for how their elders would get to spend their old age in the homes, the citizens of the Netherlands MUST find the time, and, even the elderly population who wanted to become residents volunteered in the facilities themselves too.” Q added, the older generations’ duties are mostly “childcare related”, like helping the younger kids finish up their homework, or give assistance to students who are falling behind in class. To give what one can, so the old and the young in the society, can interact, in this good kind of cycle.
“Is it workable?”, my wife started questioning, “forcing the younger generations to carry the load they’re unwilling to, to care for the elderly, would they feel unfair?”, based off of the 2013 global happiness guide, the children in Netherland ranked at the very top, but, seeing the issues surrounding elderly care, I couldn’t help but worry for the kids when they grow up. Taking the examples of the Netherlands, how, would Taiwan do?
So, this, is a comparison of how the care of old age differs in the two countries, and, if one set of rules worked in a place, that doesn’t mean that it can be duplicated, and work just as well in another place, there’s still a LOT of details that needed to be worked out, before the programs are set up, and become up and running here.