While most of us think of Thailand as an exotic vacation spot, Europeans are beginning to look at it as a one-way destination for their aging relatives with Alzheimer’s.

Thailand Exporting Alzheimers

At Baan Kamlangchay, Alzheimer’s patients stay active with the help of staff. Source: www.news.com.au via AP

As an architectural firm that works in the area of affordable housing for seniors, we were fascinated by two recent articles discussing Thailand as an alternative option, where Alzheimer’s and dementia patients can receive incomparable care at a very reasonable cost. However, this idea has received criticism from those who feel it’s cruel to send seniors so far away from family, friends, and home.

An article from ABCnews.com introduces Susanna Kuratli and her husband Ulirich. Susanna is in the progressed stages of Alzheimer’s. Although the couple are Swiss, Ulrich and his children have decided to give the Thai senior care facility a 6-month trial. In addition to extremely personal round-the-clock care, Susanna is taken on daily excursions, lives in her own bungalow, and eats nutritious meals. All of this for one-third of the cost of full-time Alzheimer’s care in her native country.

We meet Sybille Wiedmer and her mother Elisabeth in a similar article from the BBC. While Sybille struggles with the criticism she has faced from peers, she cannot afford the cost of a residential facility, and knows her mother is better cared for at the Thai community she resides in now. The reality is patients with progressed stages of Alzhiemer’s and dementia do not always recognize their loved ones anymore, and often don’t remember their family members’ visits.

Could you send your aging loved one to live across the oceans for more affordable care? Tell LS&A Architecture & Interiors what you think.