Alzheimers Assisted Living in Thailand

Alzheimers assisted living in Thailand is comparable to what can provide at home and more affordable than a $12,000/month Swiss special care facility, according to one of our clients.

A Swiss gentleman, responsible for his afflicted father, approached us requesting a custom workshop designed to find an Alzheimer’s special care facility in Thailand. Caring for family members with Alzheimer’s is as big a problem for Europeans as it is for Americans: our Swiss client told us that he was facing bills of $12,000/month for his dad. We got his father  settled – in a facility superior to the one in Switzerland – for  $2,600/mo.

McKeans Alzheimers HomeThe  drawback is Thailand’s distance. If you can deal with this then the choice is clear: Thailand is far less expensive for  both patient and carer. Alzheimers assisted living in Thailand has five advantages:

  1. Lower cost
  2. Better nursing
  3. Better medical care
  4. Better cultural environment
  5. More humane and cheerful facilities.

Care Costs Less

Nursing is Better

In the West patient care standards have fallen as the importance of profits has risen. Today’s harried nurses, working in deliberately understaffed facilities, have little time to devote to the bedside chats that were once an integral part of the caring process. In Thailand, overstaffing is the rule – everywhere. Staff in my favorite riverside coffee shop always outnumber customers. When the girls see me pull into the parking lot they have the WiFi switched on, a cushion on my favorite chair, my music playing, and my daily order (iced organic arabica cafe latte frappe with little ice) waiting on my table with, naturally, something to nibble, and a glass of iced water. The cost, 59 Baht ($1.99), is considered high here, but I refuse to complain. The same is true in Alzheimer’s assisted living facilities: after a recent accident I spent hours in the emergency ward. Four nurses fussed over me, covering my with a (warmed!) blanket as I lay on the gurney, bringing glasses of iced water and stroking my injured leg while chatting in charming, fractured English. They were in no hurry and, after a while, I was in no hurry to leave. The bill? 500 Baht ($17)

Better Medical Care

It seems strange to claim that medical care in Thailand could be better than in the countries where Western medical care originated, but it is. Not because of the physicians’ training – which is often identical, down to attending the same medical schools – but because of time and attitude. Thai physicians do not expect to get rich. They expect to take care of people  for the rest of their lives, and cure them. They devote themselves to that with the single-mindedness we expect in the Orient.

Thai Cultural Environment

Thailand, though officially Buddhist, has a Confucian family- and social-culture which maintains a tradition of genuine respect for older people. The elderly are almost always lovingly cared for within the family by the daughter for as long as possible. The entire family makes great sacrifices to support this home elder care, because not to do so would bring unbearable shame upon them. In Thai care facilities, seniors with Alzheimer are treated with love and dignity because that is how every Thai, without exception, has been brought up to treat older people.

Beautiful Facilities

He left intact the original building shown in the picture above because of its historical value, but the nursing facilities are 21st. century and because a Thai businessperson who constructed an ugly or cheap facility would lose respect (face: ไปแขงกแพ ขายขหนาเปลา ๆ bpai kàeng gôr páe kăai kêe ่้ ้่ nâa bplào-bplào) amongst his peers in Thai society, as would his family. Thais prefer to construct prestigious edifices with graceful colonnades and beautiful plantings, thereby gaining respect amongst their associates. Of course, there is also compelling market pressure to construct attractive facilities: customers prefer them.

General Nursing Home Care

Nursing home care in Thailand costs less than half the rate for Alzheimer’s care: it starts at $1,000/month for a good, professional facility.

If Alzheimer’s assisted living is a consideration for you, watch this short video about choosing care for your family member. It’s from the Alzheimer’s Association of America:


General Readings on Alzheimers Assisted Living

6 Responses

  1. I found your fascinating website after talking with my (Thai) wife about what we would do if either of us came down with dementia. (My wife says it’ll never happen to us. She’s clearly in denial or uninformed. Probably both.)

    Spending our last days in Thailand seems an easy correct decision.

    But one question neither of us has an answer to: how does an Alzheimer’s patient stay in Thailand, for maybe years, without breaking immigration laws?

    It used to be that non-citizens would have to leave the country for a day to get their visas extended for six months (or some work-around like that). Travel for an Alzheimer’s patient would be difficult if not impossible.

    So how does a non-Thai citizen move to Thailand for the last years of life? And are there any income, language, citizenship or other requirements?

    Eager to hear from you.

    1. No, there’s no problem moving here, and an Alzheimers patient could receive residential care for about $1000/mo at a fine institution.

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