Tuesday March 31, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Care homes see mass exodus

By Lina Giannarou

Grandma and grandpa’s pension has become the main source of income for thousands of Greek families struggling with unemployment, along with rising living costs and taxes. This shift has been accompanied by a mass evacuation of retirement homes across the country as elderly family members move in with their children and grandchildren in order to make ends meet.

“There is a good deal of movement as many families decide to move their elderly relatives into their homes so they can cut care costs and make use of their pensions,” Stelios Prosalikas, head of the Greek Association of Care Units for the Elderly, told Kathimerini recently.

Prosalikas said that the decision to take on the care of elderly relatives is rarely a simple one.

“For someone to be in a care facility, it normally means that they are quite ill and require special attention,” he explained. “But it looks like many people are ready to take on the challenge in order to avoid paying for care facilities.”

Greece has around 200 nursing homes for the elderly, half of which are private facilities while the other half are run by nongovernmental organizations and the Orthodox Church. Their total capacity is estimated at 15,000 people.

According to Prosalikas, before the crisis, these facilities were operating at 100 percent capacity. Today, however, this has dropped to 80 percent as one-fifth of their patients have left.

“The number of beds available used to be considered inadequate for demand, but today there are empty beds in almost every nursing home in the country,” he added.

On a more personal level, a woman who wished to be identified only as I.F. explained how she has to contribute to the cost of her grandmother’s care at a facility in the southern suburbs of Athens as the elderly woman’s pension is not enough.

“I am seriously considering bringing her to my home,” she told Kathimerini.

“That way, we will only have the rent of my house to pay and I will have some cash left over at the end of each month. But it is a tough decision which will basically mean having to give up my personal life for my grandmother, who suffers from a lot of health problems.”

I.F. is not alone in her dilemma. On the one hand, having an extra source of income in the house is an attractive prospect, but caring for elderly relatives, especially those who are sick, requires a lot of time and money.

“The cost of care at home can also be quite high,” said Prosalikas, adding that most retirement homes have reduced their fees in a bid to curb the flight of residents, with most now costing under 1,000 euros a month for a shared room.

At the same time, the average monthly salary of a nurse providing home care can reach around 500 euros a month, explained Prosalikas.

Of course there are many cases where taking an elderly relative into one’s home is not an option, especially people with illnesses such as dementia, who require around-the-clock care.

“The state does not provide for such cases in any way, so people have no other option but nursing homes,” Costis Prouskas, a psychologist and managing director of the Aktios facility in Athens, told Kathimerini.

“Only someone who is unemployed would consider taking on the responsibility of caring for someone with advanced Alzheimer’s at home,” he said, adding that another option is moving the elderly relative to a cheaper facility or having them share a room with one or even two other patients.

How the situation develops depends entirely on the course of the Greek economy.

“Taking elderly relatives out of retirement homes has become something of a ‘solution’ to the unemployment problem,” said Prosalikas.

“Most of the unemployed people in this country are surviving on the pensions of their parents or grandparents anyway rather than on their unemployment benefits. If unemployment continues to rise, then so will the evacuation of nursing homes,” he added.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday October 10, 2013 (20:05)  
Narrow escape from Norman Atlantic fails to dampen one Austrian´s support for Greece
For African migrants, trek to Europe brings risk, heartbreak
What a life: The world’s most traveled man, who’s been to all 195 countries
Jewish leaders in Greece want Germany to pay more in reparations – with 7 decades of interest
EXHIBITION
Communist structures risk fate of Ozymandias
“Searching for information on something that happened in Bulgaria 30 years ago is much like being an archaeologist collecting evidence on an event that occurred many centuries ago.” Sofia-bo...
Nude sculptures of ancient Greeks dazzle in British Museum exhibition
The nude sculptures of the ancient Greeks depict what they believed to be the perfect human form, and the results still dazzle and move us thousands of years on, as the British Museum's late...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Cyprus soccer eyes reunion after 60-year divorce
2. Hoteliers hire firm to monitor illegal tourism accommodation
3. Construction crumbles by 80 percent in just five years
4. Cosco plans for ship repair unit at Salamina
5. Major effort under way after floods in Serres
6. Golden Dawn´s No 2 released, as protests over trial linger
more news
Today
This Week
1. ECB nerves fray on Greece as supervisors rile central bankers
2. Greek markets show all at risk should mistake trigger a default
3. Talks in Brussels continue but Greece and lenders 'not there yet'
4. Greece says not backing down on debt relief goal
5. Work on tram extension begins in Piraeus
6. European stock-index futures rise as investors look to Greece
Today
This Week
1. Next Monday is D-Day for state funds
2. Eurogroup unlikely to be held soon to discuss Greek reforms
3. Moscow expects progress from Tsipras visit
4. Some more equal than others
5. Greece to present reforms by Monday, says gov't spokesman [Update]
6. Greece optimistic on deal with euro area next week
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.