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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More