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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid