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Elderly Care

Thailand - Elderly Care

The facilities which are available in Thailand for the elderly are of a good quality, although these are not widespread. This is mainly due to the culture of the country, where the elderly are traditionally taken care of by members of their family. However, there are now retirement complexes and care homes which are being purpose built. These are mainly located in the larger cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket.

Early in 2011, Thailand launched (alongside a similar policy launched in Singapore) a project for long term elderly care which will be worked on by a number of different ministries. The ministries involves are Public Health, Labour, Social Development and Human Security. Initiatives will include learning more about the standard and availability of geriatric care in hospitals, training on geriatric care and schemes for allowing older people to continue to work.

As long term care facilities are still relatively new in Thailand it is still more common for the elderly to be taken care of within their own home and this is a practice which is actively promoted by the Thai government. However, as the economic situation changes and more and more people are going out to work, there are an increasing number of families who are unable to provide care for family members. This is an issue for those who are on a low income. Assistance can be claimed from the Thai government if it is needed.

The Thai government does have homes available for the elderly under the non-survivor system. These are intended for those who have no family at all. Accommodation and meals are provided at no cost to the resident, however, these are for Thai citizens only.

The Department of Social Welfare manages a total of 20 residential homes for the elderly and there are homes owned by private organisations in 7 provinces (Bangkok, Prathumthani, Samutprakarn, Sakolnarkorn, Saraburi, Chonburi and Angthong – 1 in each province). One of the main issues with nursing homes in Thailand is that they do not have to be registered with any governing body, so it is possible that there are more homes in other areas which are just not well-publicised. Care is generally paid for by the family or the resident.

Hospital based care is another option for those who need specialist care. When the economic situation was in difficulties in Thailand there were many private hospitals which added long term care for the elderly to their services in order to avoid being shut down, although this was only available to those who could afford to pay for it. More than 50 hospitals in Thailand now offer this service.

One of the most common options for elderly care is using private nurses to provide care at home. For those who have a reasonable income this is a very cost-effective option. It may be more expensive if the patient speaks no Thai and an English speaking nurse is required.

Hospice facilities are not generally available in Thailand.

Useful Resources

Department of Social Welfare
Tel: + 66 2232 1421 22
Email: webmaster@mol.go.th

Read more about this country

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