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Outsourcing Elderly Care -to India!

Steve Herzfeld confronted the decisions that haunt most of us eventually. His elderly parents needed round-the-clock care, but he couldn't afford the quality of nursing home he wanted for them in Florida. So he sent them to Puducherry, India!
Looking back, Herzfeld says the main thing he would have done differently would have been to hire staff before their arrival: it took him five difficult weeks to find a nurse.

But once staff had been found, he could give his parents a much higher standard of care than would have been possible in the US for his father's income of $2,000 (£1,200) a month. In India that paid for their rent, a team of carers - a cook, a valet for his father, nurses to be with his mother 12 hours a day, six days a week, a physiotherapist and a masseuse - and drugs (costing a fifth of US prices), and also allowed them to put some money away.

Could this be the wave of the future? Herzfeld, whose parents died a few years after moving to India, knows this plan would not work for everyone, but he admires the caring way that his parents were treated in India. Link -via Arbroath

(image credit: Steve Herzfeld)

wow- I'm guessing this will generate some response! I cannot imagine shipping my parents off to India... what about siblings? What about old friends? Neighbors? You're hardly going to hop over to India to visit the Smiths and brighten their day. Were both parents completely out of it and unaware of their surroundings? If nursing homes seem cold and impersonal to many, I cannot see that this is not worse. Sure, level of care might be high at a much lower cost, but how do you compensate for all the other things mentioned above? (Ok- I visit acquaintances in nursing homes; I realize not everyone does gets many visitors but still...)

And the big question- Did Steve go off to India, too, and live there with them? If not, how on earth does he know- really know- what kind of care they got...
This totally blows my mind and I shudder to think that it might be 'the wave of the future'.
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One parent had Parkinson's and the other one Alzheimer's, they sounds like they were near the end of their lives and in a situation where they needed constant care. The only option to be to quit your job, as paying for that kind of care in Florida would leave you in a similar financial situation. It's an exotic location, nice climate, and quality care for way less the amount elsewhere. India has gotten quite developed, so I'm not sure if your perception of the entire region is total squalor. I don't know the extent of their illnesses, but what good are friends and neighbours if they can't remember them, or even neighbours who aren’t alive anymore but you have the belief they are. People of India are raised with good'ol British hospitality in mind... it's almost scary how hospitable they can be actually. Like he said, it’s not for everybody.
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I think it's a brilliant idea. Most Indians have tremendous respect and compassion for the elderly.
Pondicherry is a wonderful place. It's definitely a great situation for everybody as long as you check on your parents welfare and don't abandon them completely it can work out for anyone.
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This sounds like a great idea under some circumstances. Perhaps the greatest concern with the idea lies in being able to provide the sort of familiar interaction to the elderly -- after all, it's stressful enough for most people to move to an unfamiliar land, let alone the elderly.
Going there to hire someone is probably a better idea than hiring someone before arrival, contrary to the article. It's best to see for yourself, just in case.
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They had a story on 60 Minutes about people outsourcing their major health care problems to India because of the cost, and they found that Thailand was even cheaper.
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It is even cheaper in Somalia. My mother became a burden and difficult to endure because of her stories of the sixties, so I sent her to a home there. Once a month I send her a postcard, and since the cards are never returned, I know that she is still alive. Costs: $35 a month, plus a quarter for the card. We may ship some other relatives there who have cerebral palsy and are a pain to care for.
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The photo itself would make a marvellous caption competition. I automatically wondered what they were all thinking, such are the expressions on the faces, but I am too much of a wuss to type them in here because they are way off the PC scale. :-)
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@Gaulder- thanks for that added input re the parents' conditions. I still find it difficult to comprehend even wanting my parents, no matter what their condition or my ability, to be that far away... and ironically, not until I read your comment did I even think of the actual condition (squalor as you put it) of much of India... I was thinking of surroundings as in something/anything familiar... and also of how much it meant to all of us that we could visit and be with (and help care for) our Grandma in the last years of her life in spite of her dementia, even though she had no idea who we were. Of course, not everyone is in the same situation, not everyone can provide care themselves. It still takes my breath away...
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This is brilliant - I've already sent the link to my folks to get them thinking about the idea...ha ha. They're both at least fifteen years from this, but if their reaction is negative, I'll have a really good threat for the next little while. ;)
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Apparently the moderator is very easily confused and offended by satirical remarks, so I will just humbly say that outsourcing like this is just a way to rid oneself of taking responsibility for one's own.
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There's something quite disturbing about the thought of shipping the elderly to another country to be taken care of. I couldn't imagine doing that to my folks.
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I find this incredibly creepy too. If I had kids, I'd be terrified and saddened that'd they'd "ship me off" to anywhere to get rid of me until I died, even if they place they sent me too was super-attentive and such. To a different country... well... that just worse. (Although I suppose it's not as bad if the country is where one is from).
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I'd rather be in India than gathering dust in an old persons parking lot.

Warm, cheap friendly people, interesting culture etc

The Japanese tried to set up an old peoples village (for Japanese people, duh) in Australia many many years ago in Queensland. The locals freaked out at the 'invasion' and so no investment, no jobs, no nothing.
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Hopefully this won't come across judgemental but, WOW!, I would quit my job, scrape, scrounge, pick up a second job, to take care of my elderly parents. I don't believe it's that impossible to keep one's elderly parents here at home without haveing to bust the bank.
Just imaagine if it were possible when he was a baby and they were too busy to take care of him so they decided to ship him off to a foreign country cause it was cost effective.
Maybe on the other hand, these poor elderly parents had it coming to them for how they may have raised their son. What comes around goes around-I guess.
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Geez--my mom raised holy hell to move from a big house to a smaller, more manageable apartment. I can only imagine the reaction of trying to send her to India! Well, better that then an ice floe....
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Hey, why don't we send our little children to India also? I bet their day care is cheaper than ours!

Seriously though, our parents care for us and love us from the day we are born, it is our responsibility to return the favor. The elderly are to be loved and respected.

Somehow, when the exterior changes, some people forget that the person remains unchanged. My parents haven't changed a bit, I know for sure that they would still give me an ass whooping I did anything like that to them.
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I find it amusing to hear that people think they were sent there against their will. Please, for your sake read the article before commenting.
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I wonder how many of the people who condemn this plan ever took care of an elderly person who suffers from Alzheimers and other physical problems requiring 24 hour care -without help. Or even respite. Or have investigated and priced nursing homes.
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I can see why people would find this offensive. Really, though, but for the distances involved (somewhat less in the UK) it doesn't seem that radical to me. I'd certainly prefer this to wasting away from benign neglect or being quietly euthanized in a nursing home.
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@ted: Short answer, yes. The best I can do is imagine myself as an ancient, dementia-addled soul who wants to be comfortable and cared for in my final years, and I see this as a Very viable alternative to the most common situation, which is being sort-of-cared-for in a crap place while my loved ones figure out how they can avoid visiting this week. Just because they didn't know their caretakers in their conscious life doesn't mean the level of care they're getting isn't great, and anyway a nursing home would be the same difference--except that certain cultures value the old more than others and so treat them much better.

Also: Hi! I moved to Mexico and am right now listening to the ocean do its thing in a beach front room with deck for ten dollars a night. The point what works for you. And you're all invited to visit. Except for Evilbeagle. Kidding! Hasta...
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This brings up good discussion and that is a good thing. People need to understand the challenges that are faced when a person is not able to 'function' fully in our society or in their personal life. It is a humbling experience - for the person - and for the family/care takers.
With our economy & demographics changing, this is going to be a very lively conversation for some time to come.
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Violet, I'd only be concerned that they're respecting that person's wishes, culture, and religious beliefs.

The woman in this picture may never have imagined she would one day be dressed in a sari with a dot on her forehead. What other traditions might they be imposing on her without her ability to form an objection?
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not only might the daycare be cheaper, the school education standards are better if you leave out the preparation for NFL.NBA.MLB and NHL portions.
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What a GREAT idea! Hey, I'm 81 and my kids have treated me like crap for the last 20 years because I don't act like an old lady and they can't 'rule' me. I thank my Creator for allowing me to be perfectly healthy and able to be on my own up to now. This article provided me with the perfect solution to my problem: Who am I going to leave all my money and estate to? I'm going to investigate Mexico, Thailand, India and wherever I can go to live out the last years of my life in comfort and pleasure. Living with and being abused in any way by my kids here in the USA, as they are praying for me to die so they can inherit my Estate, fills me with so much dread that I was wondering what to do. NOW I know what I'm going to do. Thank you Thank you for this great article. My dilemma is solved.
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Francey, if I were you I would do just that. Travel to many places, have fun, and check out where you might want to stay in case your health went downhill. I hope you stay healthy a long time!
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Francey, I'd do the same thing. I don't have children to take care of me in my old age. The sad truth is that many elderly parents can't count on their children to do the right thing anyway. I think the best thing is to make plans for a situation when you may need some assistance. A nice climate and exotic location far removed from your children would be a wonderful idea.

A lot of folks have relocated to affordable retirement communities in Central American countries and have access to excellent health care and in-home staff. Then there's the added bonus of living with other elderly Americans as neighbors, so it doesn't feel too foreign. Also, it's short flight back to the U.S. from say Panama or Cost Rica.

Also, look into providing for a worthy charity in your estate. Sounds like your children don't deserve much consideration in your will anyway.
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If one reads the original article (link at the end of the last paragraph of the text) one finds that the situation is not as most have interpreted it.

Steve went to India with them and had friends and help there. To me it sounds pretty good. Certainly better than at a lot of US care facilities.
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Our thoughts on the offshore outsourcing of ones family...

from the offshore blog
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Hello Francis, Good Day. I am Medical Doctor from South India. I am interested in taking care of elderly (Geriatric Patients). You can call me on 91-9440798233 for any help.
Thank You
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I think this would happen only to few.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this article, all is possible now so we have to be open minded. :-)

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