Thailand a choice care center for foreign patients

In a modest but growing trend, Thailand is becoming a choice for foreign families of dementia patients as a place to find quality care for their loved ones because of the affordable costs, medical standards, and warmth of local caregivers.

American and British families are among those choosing Thailand as a care center for their loved ones. Many have selected nursing care or assisted living facilities in Chiang Mai, which recently made US News and World Report’s list of the best and most affordable places in the world to retire.

“Thailand already has a long history of medical tourism, and it’s now setting itself up as an international hub for dementia care,” said Dr. Caleb Johnston of Newcastle University.

Thailand “is also becoming an increasingly popular retirement option for foreigners attracted by its agreeable climate, low living and health costs, and culture of service,” Reuters wrote last year.

The Denver Post reported, “The care in northern Thailand is not only less expensive but more personal.”

Dementia care is also a concern for Thais. Whereas traditionally, several generations of the same family lived under the same roof, family members cared for their elderly. Today, fewer extended families live together, and so Thais also need solutions for caring for parents or others with dementia.

The main drawback for families considering Thailand or any other foreign country for dementia care is that some dementia patients do not respond well to new or unfamiliar surroundings.

“There aren’t yet any official numbers as to how many people are moving out to Thailand to receive care,” said Johnston. “Relative to the total number of people living with dementia, it is a low number. But with the number of people with dementia set to increase, and the cost of looking after them also getting higher, it is likely to be an option that more and more people consider.”

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