Don't wish to be tooooo critical . . .
Recent Thai contributors have told us that we inhumanly lock our grandparents and old people away in institutions while they provide loving care in old age through a nurturing and sustaining family environment. Whilst I'm pretty certain
that most foreigners who have had any experience in Thailand would dispute that such an ability exists regarding the expertise or provision of necessary medication, I would simply like to report to our Thai readers what actually happens under
our system. I ran a business in the UK for 12 years supplying special equipment to many government and private agencies, including residential and nursing homes for the elderly and therefore do have a fair amount of knowledge and experience in
Point number 1: I know that 15 years ago the number of people receiving residential care in the UK as a percentage of the elderly population was actually less than 10% That figure may well have decreased since then as there has been a greater
effort to provide care in the community over recent years. SO, please don't assume all 'falangs' are locked away. Most (in excess of 90%?) live long lives – at home – fully capable of independent living and travelling who also enjoy
a decent, healthy lifestyle. EG., My father is 82. He has just returned from a month in Florida and has a trip planned this autumn to Sri Lanka (where he was stationed in the 1939-45 war)
For those who do require specialist care, taking care of our elderly is recognised as being a community (NOT central government) responsibility. Money to build, staff and supply elderly homes comes from the local taxes we pay, NOT national
funds. However, only essential items are provided. Every elderly home has to reach out and be a part of the community, organising charity events and functions to raise cash for what is called a 'comforts fund'. People are NOT locked
away and forgotten about but have an active and ongoing relationship with the area in which they are situated. From visits by local schoolchildren to sponsorship by businesses and organisations, all play an active role. Don't suppose you
were aware of that . . . but 100% I promise, it is true.
In addition, every effort is first made by social services to enable senior citizens to continue independent living in their own homes. There is an army of qualified and professionally trained community nurses making home visits, providing
medical care, cleaning and providing hot meals on a daily basis. And don't forget, ALL UK citizens have a right to 24/7 access to a doctor who will make HOME visits when necessary. All paid for by the taxes we all have to pay.
Nevertheless, there simply comes a time for some when they fall too ill or incapacitated to be able to care for themselves or to be looked after at home by the family. The degree of help and support required goes far beyond what an ordinary
family (even with the specialist home help available) can provide. That is when going into a home makes sense. Indeed there really is no alternative. But please do not assume this is done in an offhand or uncaring manner. Is it so hard for you
to accept that we have as much love and concern for our parents as you do? Or is it just that you derive some sort of perverse pleasure in assuming that we don't? Shame on you!
Getting back to Thailand, who takes care of Khun Thai when he/she falls ill? Who provides and/or pays for the necessary drugs and medicines, hospital and medical care for your elderly? The point is: there is little or no personal or state provision set aside to cope with the inevitable when the time comes. An early – often drawn out and degrading – illness followed by death is the only remedy for many who fall sick or suffer from the effects of old age (at not too old an age either, I might add, and even young people without means to pay are routinely turned away from hospitals and just left to die.
So the real difference is that we have made provision, in the best interests of the individual, whereas you have not. I'm not blaming you for this, Thailand is a poor country. You have no alternative, folk MUST die in their homes. This presumably includes those who fall sick early in life, or suffer from '000's and 000's of road accidents too. I know and you know, poor people without the means to pay are turned away – this is the case even under the government's so called and insufficiently funded 30 baht health scheme.
Before you say it – it is the people of the UK that pay taxes to the government to fund expenditure on our health and education system- DID YOU HEAR THAT? I know you believe that our government just "GIVES" us money, right?? This is one of the most idiotic and stupid things I have ever heard!! Re-distribute, maybe . . . but to just give is impossible.
Apart from wealthy (thai-rak) Thais (what a cruel name!!) who can enjoy a world class PRIVATE health care in Thailand, our countries are worlds apart. The UK is an expensive place to live and certainly our tax rates make it so, but we do get a lot in return. Maybe that's why so many rich Thais and politicians have houses or keep their wealth hidden there?
Is this related enough to Thailand to be included? Let me know what you think.