How does the care we offer our elderly communities differ across the globe? In this article we find out who is topping the charts and why.
Across the UK, care homes are always getting good and bad press for the things they may or may not be doing, but is this the same across the rest of the world? As living costs rise and loneliness and health barriers start getting in the way of us living in our homes for the rest of our lives, care homes are there to help. But who does it the best?
As the demand for top-notch care is increasing, we take a look at care homes across the globe and how they compare to our own.
Sitting in the top 15, Great Britain is by no means the best country for care homes, but ranking 11th overall, we are doing something right. With the population of the elderly growing rapidly in the UK, the demand for care home spaces is vastly outweighing the spaces available. With 23% of the population at 60 years or older, this is expected to rise to 28% by 2030 meaning that the value of care in our homes has to meet this criteria.
Following a lot of our European counterparts, the UK’s care homes take on board policies and practices from countries like Norway, Sweden and Switzerland where the quality of care sits them within the top 5. With homes across the country offering safe, effective and caring environments for our elderly community, what can we be doing to make them better?
With one of the longest life expectancies in the world, more Canadians are living past the age of 80 than ever before, which in turn means the number of housing opportunities has grown drastically to accommodate the growth in population.
In most Canadian care housing facilities, as opposed to residential-like housing that we are used to in the UK, apartment-style accommodation is usually opted for. With a lot of the care facilities sitting in convenient locations with recreational activities and retail opportunities on the doorstep.
So why is Canada rated in the top 5? Hometouch recently explains on their website: “As the first country in the top 5 without 100% pension coverage, 97.7% of Canadians receive a pension and only 7.2% receive an income under half the median per capita income for the country. Though access to jobs and public transportation was somewhat lacking, a very high percentage of the elderly felt safe in their homes and had good social support when in need.”
With a life expectancy that is set to continue growing, Germany nears the top when it comes to caring for the elderly. Although not offering 100% pension coverage for those looking for some form of care support, stats still came to the conclusion that 90% of elderly residents felt safe in their home and that they had someone to count on in times of need.
Germany is also looking into some of the latest and greatest technology that could empower their care system, enabling more of the nurses’ time to be spent interacting with the residents. Many care homes in this European country are said to be of a high standard, offering comfortable and pleasant accommodation in great locations.
Edition.cnn recently reported: “When it comes to choosing alternative housing arrangements in Germany, shared apartments aren’t the only option. Across the country, multi-generational homes combine assisted living apartments for seniors with nursery schools that allow elderly tenants to remain in the neighbourhoods they grew up in.”
Known for its great way of living, there is no surprise that Sweden is ranked number 2 when it comes to caring for the elderly.
“Most elderly care is funded by municipal taxes and government grants. In 2014, the total cost of elderly care in Sweden was SEK 109.2 billion (almost £9 billion), but only 4% of the cost was financed by patient charges. Healthcare costs paid by the elderly themselves are subsidised and based on specified rate schedules,” reports Sweden.se.
With a large number of care options available and the majority of its residents not having to pay towards the costs, the number of people happy in the facilities is drastically higher than anywhere else in the world.
The United States
Although it may not be in the top 5, the United States actually performs well on the scale of great care home facilities. Because such a high population of older US citizens are still working, even on flexible and part-time hours, productivity and engagement are higher than most other countries, in turn keeping their brain active for longer.
With larger care facilities that offer spacious, light and airy rooms, it is said that the quality of life in American care homes trumps many of its overseas competitors, the UK included.
Topping the charts when it comes to the care of their elderly community, Norway comes out victorious in many ways. Offering a 100% pension coverage and only 1.8% of the elderly population living in the lower quarter of national incomes.
“As a whole, Norway’s elderly are expected to enjoy another 24 years of life after reaching the age of 60, with 17.4 of those years in good health.” Says Hometouch.
With age-old policies that are designed to provide financial security in old age, a strong sense of community within the towns and villages and a high level of employment, less people in Norway are needing elderly care, therefore allowing more space and freeing up nurse time for those who do.
The countries that offer a better way of life seem to offer the same level of care to their elderly communities, offering higher pension coverages, longer life expectancies and government funding. The UK seems to be following in their footsteps when it comes to policies and practices and this is seen through the work that is being done in homes across Britain and Ireland
Do you or someone you know need help getting funding for care or wants to know more about the NHS continuing healthcare checklist? Get in contact with our experts today by calling 01214 376655.
Author: Tim Davies LLB