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As nursing home and long term care costs rise, Americans look to unconventional options

American nursing homes are expensive, understaffed and prone to abuse and neglect. Many families are becoming increasingly frustrated with the high costs and poor quality of the nursing homes they are forced to submit loved ones to. Sending a family member to a nursing home is a hard decision, especially families that are aware of the dangers and negligence running rampant in U.S. homes. Many complain to government agencies, try to care for loved ones themselves or have to live with a decision to put a loved one in a home. Steve Herzfeld, 56, said, “I’ve seen nursing homes, and it’s a hell of a way to end your life. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me.”

That is why Steve began to consider other options for his aging, deteriorating parents. Ultimately he decided to “outsource his parents to India.” For $2,000 a month, the family is provided with food, housing, utilities, medications, cable and a 24-hour six person staff. His parents actually pocket $1,000 of their Social Security payments each month. His mother receives daily massages and physical therapy while getting assistance from a 24-hour nurse and aid and a full time cook. Steve’s father also receives similar services.

When Americans think of India, they typically picture an underdeveloped, largely impoverished country. They also believe that America is strong and successful and a stable place to live. For the elderly, however, it is extremely difficult to find satisfactory long term care solutions. Nursing homes are unpleasant places. Even the most expensive homes have serious problems with staffing, training, administering medication and more. By putting a loved one in a home, the family still has to dedicate a large portion of time to make sure that they are being treated in the appropriate way. Nursing homes are supposed to take care of our elderly, not just exist as somewhere for our loved ones to sleep while we still continue to care for them. It is unfortunate that even a tiny portion of our elderly population feel that living in a country like India is a better alternative to what is available in America.

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