Nursing Home…a New Choice for Happy Retirement

When we were young, we’ve often been asked “What would you want to be when you grow up?”

When we’re about to graduate, we’ve been asked “What would you do after graduation?”

When we plan to set up a family, we’ve been asked “Where would you live after marriage?”

Anyway, there’s a question that is rarely asked: “How would we live when getting older?”

That’s because most of us visualize that “We must stay with our children and descendants so they will take care of us.”

However, Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation (TDRI) states that Thailand currently has about 12 million elderly people or 17% of the country's population, and it’s expected that the number will be increased to 19 million or about 28% of the population nationwide within 2031. That means Thailand will completely become an aging society by that time.

Besides, a survey of the Siam Commercial Bank Economic Intelligence Center (SCB EIC) reveals that over 90% elderly want to live in their home after retirement. In fact, the size of a household normally remains of 3 people and children have to go to work so they can’t manage to take care of elderly parents who stay home alone, especially elderly who are bedridden patients and need extra care.

In 2017, approximately 371,978 Thai dependent elderly need 59,519 MB per year for health care expenses. In the next 20 years or 2037, the number will rise to 837,484 people with an incredible increase of expense at 199,717 MB per year.

Therefore, a dream picture of “A happy retirement in the midst of children and grandchildren” may not easily be true without a good financial plan. Why is it so? That’s because, Thai are more likely to live longer, have fewer children, and slower, and more people tend to live alone. Moreover, a decline in the working-age population is quite a big concern because the birth rate is lower than the retirement rate. Thus, we can’t expect our children to take care of us when we get old. Consequently, setting a financial plan, especially a retirement plan has become “National agenda” and it’s no longer a distant matter.

As the ratio of income earners is lower, the economic growth rate decreases accordingly. The burden to make a living to feed the family members then falls to the minority in Thai society. The retirement plan for a new generation is therefore necessary and can start when they’re still young so they don’t have to leave their life burden to their children. 

An elderly nursing home is an alternative for the retirement plan of the new generation including singles who choose not to get married or even those who have been married but never thought of depending on their children. Staying in an elderly nursing home may be a good choice as a caregiver will provide full service. Perhaps, the elderly can make friends with those who are the same age and share common interests. 

Tips to find a quality nursing home

At first, we should start considering our health condition. Generally, the caring of elderly people is divided into 3 levels; self-reliant, dependent, and bedridden.

If we realize that we’re able to take care of ourselves, see doctors, go out for physical therapy, and don’t need someone to accompany us all the time, we may choose an elderly condominium or an elderly home as those places are surrounded by specific facilities for elderly but nurses will sometimes be there.

In the future, if we’re worried about having someone to take care of at all times, or we’ll be dependent or bedridden, it’s wise to choose standard and fully-installed nursing equipment with 24-hour professional nurses for convenience.

The next thing to be considered is the potential to spend our savings. How much are our savings or monthly income, such as pension? There’s a wider range of elderly nursing homes from normal to high price depending on service level and privacy; for example, shared, double or single rooms including detached house or villa, etc.

If we own the sum of savings and are able to spend them, we’ll have a right to buy an elderly home or condominium by one-time payment to live for 20 – 30 years or a lifetime. Some private projects offer lifetime ownership to buyers and the price ranges from two hundred thousand baht to millions (excluding Common fees, Utility bills, and Living costs). If we are healthy elderly expecting to live up to 20 – 30 years after retirement age, it’s worth paying a sum of money to stay at an elderly home or condominiums. We’ll get primary care, live among an aging society and enjoy participating in activities together. We can also be property owners bought from an outright sale project. 

If we don’t have a sum of money but we earn a monthly pension or dividend, we may consider staying at an elderly home with a monthly fee payment. A government nursing home like Bangkhae Home Foundation starts at 1,500 baht per month excluding utility bills and 300,000 baht of initial maintenance fee, while private nursing home costs about 16,000 – 65,000 baht per month depending on the level of an elderly’s self-reliance, and facility types.

Additional to preparing monthly expenses which cover food, nursing care, extra money should be reserved for medicines, travel fees to visit doctors in special cases, initial maintenance fees for some places like Bangkhae Home Foundation where the monthly fee is much cheaper than other projects but the maintenance fee is up to 300,000 baht. When we gather a bit of expense, it may become a huge sum of money.

If we choose a government home, we need to be aware of the queues because of high demand due to much lower expenses compared to the private ones. If we still have enough time, we’d better save money and set a financial plan as soon as possible so we can afford to choose a place that suits our needs in a timely manner.

Upon setting a retirement plan, ask yourself; What age will you retire? What is your expected lifespan? How much will be your expense after retirement? We may add a question; Where will we live after retirement? so that we can consider the conditions and those additional expenses. This would make your retirement plan more complete and you’ll be certain that you’ve enough money to spend during your retirement period happily wherever you live.


Nipaphan Poonsathiensap CFP®, ACC

Freelance Financial Planner, Writer, and Lecturer