Sonja Miskulin has forgotten her beloved cat, Pooki. She can’t remember whether she has grandchildren and has no memory of her nine-hour journey one recent Sunday to forever leave behind her home in Germany.
Suffering from dementia, the wheelchair-bound former translator celebrated her 94th birthday in a Polish nursing home last month. Her daughter sent her there in a bid for a better life and more affordable care.
Miskulin has joined the vanguard of a controversial movement: emigrant nursing home residents. The “Grandma export” trend has set hands wringing in Germany, where Munich’s leading newspaper denounced it as “gerontologic colonialism” and compared it to nations exporting their trash. Yet more families like Miskulin’s say it’s their best option to provide a dignified old age for elderly parents — and save money — amid a lack of affordable quality care at home. One in five Germans would now consider going abroad for a nursing home, according to a March survey by TNS Emnid, one of Germany’s biggest pollsters.
“I can only say, children, when your parents get older, send them to Poland,” said Miskulin’s 66-year-old daughter, Ilona von Haldenwang.
I suspect a media advisor would have encouraged her to reword that last bit. The full article is here, and for the pointer I thank Florens.