Long-Term Care of Elderly Citizens: A Comparative Study
Recently, countries around the world have experienced an exponential increase in the number of senior citizens. This unfathomable demographic change is only expected to intensify in the coming years. Countries in the western hemisphere have implemented very different strategies in an effort to cope with the new demands presented by the aging population and demographic shift. The norm in the United States is providing institutional care in either assisted livings or nursing homes, whereas the norm in Latin American countries is offering familial care and multigenerational coresidence. The aim of this study is to compare the benefits and shortcomings of the distinct care frameworks and offer a best-practices recommendation for implementation of new models based on the comparison. In terms of social well-being, Latin American senior citizens are more actively engaged in their community, but coresidence often undermines the social well-being of the family caregiver. This is similar to the economic well-being comparison; the elderly experience greater direct costs in the institutional setting, but the family and caregivers experience greater economic burdens in the familial caregiving setting. Lastly, the overall health and life expectancy of the elderly is greater in the United States. This study concluded that the best care for the elderly could be provided by combining a multitude of strategies from the United States, Latin America, and other countries around the world.