© Robin Wyatt/ HelpAge International
Why we work in Thailand?
Thailand has the third most rapidly ageing population in the world. By 2040, its population over 60 is expected to increase to 25% and by 2050, the figure will be 37%. This demographic shift poses challenges for how families and communities can support older people, and how Thailand’s Government can respond. The availability of health and care services and reliable incomes is crucial now and will be increasingly so in the future.
Community-based home care
From our experience, older people want care to take place in their homes so that they can grow old in familiar settings rather than in institutions. We want older woman and men to realise for as long as is possible. It provides comfort and privacy, and is cost effective too.
With our home care programme, volunteers within the communities are recruited and trained on basic healthcare, social care and other relevant skills to support older people in need of care, especially those who are disadvantaged or bedridden.
Advocating for better pensions
We work in collaboration with civil society networks to advocate for changes to pensions - shifting away from means-tested schemes to a universal system that provides everyone over a certain age a basic income.
Our work helped expand the pension in 2009 and, today, 85% of the population aged 60 and above receive it. While this is impressive coverage, the amount is inadequate, lower than Thailand's poverty line. We continue to call the Government to increase the pension to better meet the needs of older people.
Community development through older people’s associations
We support older people's associations across Thailand to provide inclusive, sustainable community development that engages older women and men as agents of change. They are a platform to improve the quality of life and strengthen the voice of older people.
Older people's associations have many different functions. They support older women and men’s livelihoods, provide access to healthcare, and educate people on their rights and entitlements. They strengthen the links between older people, the services available to them and local government. They are an effective local mechanism for inclusion of older people in development processes.
Poon receives home care support
Poon, aged 90, is living with her daughter and son-in-law in Chiang Mai. She has had chronic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes, for more than 10 years. Her home is humid and poorly ventilated, but her life has been improved through home care.
"Lately, I felt weak and tired. I lost my appetite. Moving around is difficult. I have to drag myself across the floor with the help of my arms. Sometimes, I felt downhearted – just living day by day. The moral support from my volunteer cheers me up. I stay alone in the daytime and my children come back home quite late. So, it is good that there is someone to visit me."
At one of the home visits, the volunteer found that Poon became quiet. She was not her chatty and welcoming self. Her family just thought she felt cold and preferred to stay quietly under the blanket. But the volunteer found she needed medical intervention immediately and called an ambulance. Poon was diagnosed hyperglycaemia, high blood pressure and an infection. She was hospitalised, but the volunteer continued to visit.
"The volunteer regularly visits me, brings me food and checks my blood pressure. She also helps me with preparing my medication. I'm deeply touched and appreciate their support."
Our network members
- Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University
- Foundation for Older Persons’ Development (FOPDEV)
- Help Without Frontiers Thailand Foundation
- Senior Citizens' Association of Thailand
- Senior Citizens' Council of Thailand
- The European Commission
- Asian Development Bank
- United Nations Population Fund
- The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation