Every month, at least one care for the aged facility springs up in Costa Rica, says a La Nacion Saturday report. The trouble is they don;t conform to any Health Ministry regulations and are totally unsuited for such a specialized treatment center.

There are no wheelchair ramps, trained nutritionists or other persons qualified for care for the aged with their endless health worries. But, says the paper, they are still raking in from 100,000 to 250,000 colones monthly for care they don’t provide.

But economics stemming partly from a scarcity of facilities and the increasingly aged population has driven authorized facility prices up to costs of 420,000 colones monthly. This is far above the average pension and more than most children with the expenses of family can pay.

But the illegal facilities are not as easy to trap as one might think. “There is interest in filling up rooms and charging for it,” ageing care specialist Alexandra Villalobos told the paper, “There are some that advise of closure and move to another location.”

The Ministry of Health lists some 89 homes for the aged with a total capacity of 2,995 persons. La Nacion ran a survey and found most of them had waiting lists of more than 100 and all were full to capacity.

“The lack of space in facilities for ageing adults and the necessity of placing grandpa in any place, and that it is cheap, brings out the clandestine homes,” says Dr. Fernando Morales of the National Geriatrics Hospital. In 2013, the Health Ministry was forced to close two of the latter for having inadequate facilities,

When the Ministry receives a complaint, they inspect the facility. “There are two homes in Zapote… both got orders to close because they lacked basic services,” says Health Minister Daisy Morrales. But some even mistreat their patients.

“In one of the inspections made last year,” says ageing health specialist Villalobos in obvious horror,”we found a woman eating from a plate on which cockroaches were walking. That’s just inhumane and many times the people don’t even denounce things like that.”

But, as Ticos live longer lives, the demand continues rising. In 2025, the aged population (over 60 years of age) is expected to reach 16%, that is 896,3000 persons. Says Dr. Morales, “Costa Rica has to prepare if aging isn’t to convert into a threat.”

Even the National Geriatrics Hospital is inadequate today, having only 144 beds. But emergency treatment demand has grown 6% per year for the last decade. But one thing is certain: The lack of training at the illegal homes make attending personnel helpless during any sort of medical emergency.

Article by iNews.co.cr


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