News / Europe

    Netherlands Retirement Home Tests Innovative Program to Share Burden

    Netherlands Retirement Home Tests Innovative Program to Share Burdensi
    X
    October 25, 2013 5:01 AM
    The Netherlands has long been one of the best places to retire, largely because of the generous Dutch welfare state. But as elderly care gets more expensive, the country is looking for new ways of providing "well-being" for its clients at a lower cost.
    Netherlands Retirement Home Tests Innovative Program to Share Burdens
    Zlatica Hoke
    The Netherlands has long been one of the best places to retire, largely because of the generous Dutch welfare state.  But as elderly care becomes more expensive, the country is looking for new ways of providing well-being for its citizens at a lower cost.  One retirement home is testing a program that aims to share the burden of costs in a unique way.
     
    In a retirement home outside the central city of Gouda, a person can only get a place if a friend or relative agrees to participate in the care of pensioners who live there.
     
    Henk Hom gives four hours of his time every month to the elderly, doing things like cooking, cleaning, and trying to make the daily lives of the residents more pleasant. In exchange for these services, his father can have a room.

    "It's not really work. I come and see my father if he needs me, so I help, that’s normal,” said Hom.
     
    But it's not only his father who looks forward to seeing him. Another retiree, Mrs. Lubbers, is glad to see him as well.
     
     “It’s really good that he comes, we get to know each other. He does everything, he helps us, he’s a really good man,” said Lubbers.
     
    The Gouda retirement home is testing the idea of a “society of participation,” conceived by Prime Minister Mark Rutte to ease some of the burden on the country's welfare system. The retirement home’s director, Sylvia Oudenes, says the system has worked smoothly so far. Of the 18 families that took part in the test program, only one family decided to go elsewhere.
     
    “The main criticisms were about the obligatory nature.  It’s a moral obligation and it’s only four hours a month.  And apparently 60 percent of people doing this for a relative, friend or neighbor do well over the four hours that we ask,” said Oudenes.
     
    The home does not depend only on volunteer work; professionals such as Rik Remmerswaal, a nurse, work there as well.
     
    “They [the volunteers] just talk, go for walks. They don’t wash or dress them [the retirees]. They don’t help them go to the toilet, that’s what we do. The volunteers don’t provide health care, they just do the little things that we won’t always have time for,” said Remmerswaal.
     
    By 2050, more than a quarter of the Dutch population is expected to be 65 or over. Many in the Netherlands say it is time to turn from the society of welfare into a society of sharing.
     
    A bill before parliament is proposing to make the elderly, chronically sick or handicapped people give private lessons to children who are behind at school.
     
    Critics have objected to what they consider the obligatory nature of such volunteer work, but Henk Hom says many others see it as a moral obligation.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora