The US isn’t the only country experiencing a sharp rise in senior care costs (with a concurrent decrease in both public and private funding options). European countries, even those with more government aid available to seniors, are also witnessing this increase, according to this Senior Housing News article. In response, many are seeking more affordable (and higher quality) care elsewhere, a trend that some are calling the “Grandma Export.”
SHN referenced the Bloomberg news report that exposed this controversial movement in which Germans are “exporting [their] seniors to nearby countries — particularly Poland.”
Though some families are defending their actions as “the best option to provide a dignified lifestyle…amid a lack of affordable quality care,” perhaps the bigger question to be answered is how can we make care more affordable all around the world, and can we do so without having to sacrifice quality?
Certainly a family has the right to choose whatever care is best for their loved ones, and if that care happens to be in Poland rather than their home country of Germany, so be it. But why is Poland able to do what Germany cannot? And what about the language barriers that these new residents will encounter as a result of being moved to an entirely new country at the end of one’s life? These are complicated questions, but ones to which answers must be found and solutions explored promptly: the global population isn’t getting any younger.