In many cultures around the world, seniors are seemingly forgotten. They’re shipped off to nursing homes and assisted living facilities where they’re left alone and in the hands of strangers.
We have retirement homes here in Israel, too. Not all of them are bad, but are we really doing enough to care for our elders?
There are at least 900,000 seniors living in Israel, and at least 200,000 of those individuals have no other income aside from their social security pension, which is NIS 1,525 for individuals and NIS 2,307 for couples. This sum is supposed to be enough to cover all living expenses, including shelter, food and healthcare.
With the cost of living constantly rising, it’s difficult for many seniors to make ends meet and live with dignity. Israeli seniors should not have to struggle to put food on the table or buy incontinence supplies and other medical supplies.
Making ends meet is a struggle for many Israelis – not just seniors. In fact, only 58% of younger people are satisfied with their economic status. It’s not surprising then that we’d put senior care on the backburner.
But our population is aging faster than we realize, and we’re not doing enough to accommodate our seniors. It’s estimated that by 2025, we will need 8,000-12,0000 assisted-living apartments and another 13,000-17,000 beds in nursing homes.
There isn’t enough supply to meet demand, and what is being planned is haphazard. A large portion of the planned housing for seniors is luxury, which will only accommodate a small percentage of the senior population.
Even though nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer convenience and on-hand medical care, transitioning to these facilities can be a traumatic experience. They leave their homes and their lives behind.
The costs can be astronomical to live in private facilities. Many of these facilities require deposits of 800,000 to 2 million shekels, and then seniors are required to pay thousands of shekels per month in maintenance costs.
Israel has many laws in place that are designed to improve care for the elderly, and these measures have made improvements. But there is still more to be done.
In a perfect world, seniors would be able to live out their days at home with their families. But it is becoming increasingly difficult for younger Israelis to care for their aging loved ones due to life demands and the rising cost of living. It’s especially challenging to care for seniors who need frequent or constant medical care.
The problem is a complex one with no simple solution. But it’s important to start a dialogue to address the issue. There may not be a single solution, but we should at least take steps to try and address the problem – particularly since instances of abuse among the elderly is on the rise. Yes, many seniors are abused by their families, but we’re seeing more cases of the elderly being neglected and abused in nursing home facilities.
We should be doing more to protect our elders, who have fought for us and cared for us, instead of leaving them