Lessons From International Elder Care ModelsTuesday, December 14, 2021
How Do Other Countries View Senior Care?
Key Takeaways From Elder Care Models in Asia
It should come as no surprise that elder care models around the world differ due to unique cultures and views. However, you may be surprised to learn of the similar challenges shared by caregivers across the globe. Many adult children feel pressure to care for their parents and elderly loved ones, and the decision to place a senior in elder care is often fraught with guilt.
This is particularly prevalent in Asian culture, where there is a deeply rooted expectation for children to be responsible for their parents' care as they age. This expectation comes from something known as "filial piety," a Confucian virtue of honoring one's ancestors and parents and treating them with reverence. This practice dates back to 551 to 221 BC according to this study on the conceptualization of filial piety published in 2021.
However, over time, families have become smaller, divorce rates have grown, people are living longer, and fewer children are living with their parents. All of these factors have changed the Asian society's views on filial piety, and one thing is clear: Children cannot be relied on to provide care for their aging parents. There must be another plan of care for the aging population.
A Global Focus on Integrated Care for Seniors
By 2030, according to the United Nations, 60 percent of the world's older population (considered age 60 and older) will reside in Asia, making this a critically important problem to solve. In the United States, our aging population is of course smaller but growing quickly. The United States Census Bureau predicts that there will be 83.7 million seniors ages 65 and older by 2050, totaling 22 percent of the American population.
There is now a global focus on providing integrated care for seniors and reducing undue pressure on caregivers. In an integrated care model, specialists and primary care doctors work together to provide comprehensive care for a senior.
In Singapore, for example, the Agency for Integrated Care was launched in 2019 with the goal of providing "people-centered, integrated health care," and fostering a seamless network of family members, community organizations, and health care institutions. The focus of this elder care model is to allow seniors to age in place with the support they need from local health and social service providers. Family members cannot be the only support system that an aging senior has.
Helping Seniors Age in Place in Their Communities
Similar to the Agency for Integrated Care in Asia, the mission to allow seniors to age in place and continue to live independently is at the heart of the PACE model of care in the United States. As the National PACE Association states, PACE programs "coordinate and provide all needed preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services so older individuals can continue living in the community." To give you just a glimpse into the scope of our services, PACE provides:
Support for caregivers—and significantly lessens their burden
Transportation for seniors to and from adult day health centers
Comprehensive care for seniors physical, mental, and emotional needs
Access to 24/7 emergency care for seniors
Coordination of seniors' medical needs and medication management
Activities for seniors that promote socialization and reduce feelings of isolation
If you are an adult caregiver who is feeling stressed and overwhelmed with your caregiving responsibilities, PACE services might provide much-needed support and relief. Please reach out to begin the conversation and learn how PACE may be the right fit for you and your family.