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Elderly CareBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Panama - Elderly Care
There are some nursing homes in Panama although these can be either very expensive or very poor in quality. Many families prefer to care for their elderly at home, particularly if skilled medical care is not a consideration but simply day to day living. A good quality nursing home could cost several thousand dollars a month, depending upon the area that you are living in, and it should be noted that this type of care is generally not available in rural areas.
The homes that do exist will have facilities ranging from those for independent living, facilities for those who need a little help and some for those who need more specialist care. At this time only a very small percentage of the population receives this type of care, although more facilities are being opened all the time. This is generally because more and more people are choosing to retire to the country and expats usually have more funds available to them than most of the Panamanian population. Part of the problem with using care homes is the cost, which is out of reach of most of the population so most families will look into other options.
A popular option is to hire domestic help if you cannot manage care on your own. Live-in help can be hired for just a few hundred dollars a month so that the care can be carried out at home without the need for a member of the family to give up work. Live-in help can take care of housework, arrange medical appointments and deal with day to day tasks that may have become difficult for the elderly person. This also ensures that there is not a great deal of pressure placed on the families when an elderly relative needs a lot of help.
There are also several home care agencies, which can provide you with home care workers who are trained to look after the elderly. You can request staff that is trained to deal with medical conditions that afflict the elderly such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, or you can simply opt for a companion service. This type of help is becoming increasingly popular in Panama as it does not require a live-in role. As well as personal care, you can opt for nursing care at home. This is ideal if medications have to be administered such as injections or if the client requires regular blood tests or monitoring.
The agencies will offer a free evaluation when you first contact them so they can advise on the best type of care and other needs of the elderly relative. If your relative simply needs one or two visits a day to help with basics such as washing or dressing or even round the clock care it can be provided. This type of care is not the cheapest but as most agencies will charge per visit you can be sure that you are only paying for the care you receive.
Most people will opt for this type of care rather than a care home. It is traditional for families to take care of their elderly so there is a tendency to see the homes as a last resort, particularly if cost is the issue. There are agencies in the large urban areas and if you are not living too far from a city the care workers may travel to your home. If you are in a rural area it may be necessary to hire live-in help.
In rural areas there are a number of elderly care centres which serve as day care centres. The staff helps them to carry out a number of day to day activities such as cooking and gardening and generally offer support. These centres are generally for those who do not need so much help with medical care but just want to maintain quality of life. Not all areas have these facilities, so it is worth checking before you move to the area to find out exactly what is available.
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