The golden years

By Chemrock

Did you know that world ranking in terms of GDP, the Philippines was in 44th position in 2010 and it has moved up to 36th by 2016? That was an incredible achievement under the previous administration. If that doesn’t impress you, by 2016, the Philippine GDP has nudged ahead of Singapore which is ranked 37th. In other words, the Philippine economy is of significant international importance.

With that huge economy, the Philippines can indeed play an important role internationally. In the domestic domain, the country should indeed have moved several notches up the people happiness level. Alas the crab mentality and the rotational vindictive politics consumes the energy and resources that should have been focused on the betterment of the people.

This is not a blog on economics. It isn’t even about the Philippines. I asked Joe if I could share some photos I took recently on my elder brother’s apartment block and explain some aspects of life in Singapore. I do this with a view to promoting the idea that there is so much a government can do for its people. How wonderful it would be if the Philippines can move along on this path instead of all the political infighting and looking after personal interests.

I am well aware Singapore is not the oasis of holistic elderly care, which is more likely to be found in Scandinavian countries. There are many areas for which our government is under attack, most valid of which, in my opinion, is the reluctance to implement policies for a higher level of wealth redistribution given the vast resources the state possesses. The voices are getting louder for a graying population where the elderly have insufficient retirement savings in an environment of rising cost of living, expensive housing, and a successful small family planning initiative of long ago. There are fewer children in most households to share the burden of looking after the aged.

The subject matter of this blog is one aspect of how Singapore takes care of the elderly in terms of housing. We have the highest percentage of home ownership in the world. The scarcity of land pushes housing prices sky-high. After retirement, most elderly may have some savings to get by, but the major part of their investments is locked up in the house they are staying in. They are asset rich but cash poor. The government has a building program of apartment blocks solely for those in the golden age. The units are for 30 year leases in order to price it low. So old folks can sell off their bigger apartments and downgrade to these special apartments, thus unlocking a lot of their investment money.

My brother recently moved into such an apartment. This is not an old folk’s home. It’s private homes for elderlies. However, the government has created an environment specifically for elderly folks. Each unit is about 50-60 square meters and in move-in condition as good as private condominiums. It is pre-fitted with lighting, cable, phone lines, cabinets, laundry poles, concealed wires and pipes, faucets and basins, kitchen gadgetries like gas stove. It is friendly for disabled persons, has emergency cords in all rooms to summon medical assistance. Beautiful ceramic flooring and wooden doors complete it. There is a separate kitchen, dining/living room, bedroom, special CR for disabled, and a store-room. (In Singapore, all store-rooms double as air raid bomb shelters — they are specially steel reinforced rooms with a heavy metallic door). In short, it’s value for money.  The picture on the right is the apartment block where my brother lives. Not bad for what is supposed to be low-income wage earners’ residence.

The Housing Development Board has responsibility for public housing. It does not just build residential apartments, but housing estates, which means the amenities and facilities that go with it including shops and office spaces. All such public housing we call HDB apartments. Since inception, it has built thousands of units.

What I like to show are the amenities of the residences for those in the golden years.

 

On the ground level are some services for the elderlies. This is physio workouts. There is a Chinese medical shop open to everyone, but residents of the block get 30% discount. There is a social group with mahjong tables and karaoke. They organize activities for the residents like field trips.

 

 

 

Letter boxes at the ground level. This is a standard feature of all housing built by the government’s housing agency.

The lift lobby at the ground floor. Note the seats for elderlies, and wall with handrails. The handrails are in most places where appropriate, such as corridors, showers and toilets.

 

 

 

Outdoor exercise equipment. These are heavy-duty, specially customized for elderly folks. Note the rubberized flooring, in case one is too frail and falls. I tried the equipment; they are too tame for me. I’ll get there in ten years time.

Most ground floors in HDB blocks are left open for social uses. We call these void decks. The Malays and some Indians use them for wedding receptions. One only pays a nominal reservation fee, and after sprucing up with canopy curtains etc, it can look pretty nice.  Chinese use it to hold funeral wakes. Some seatings are provided. In some blocks, there are areas for students who can study there if their homes are not convenient. In this block, a large area is provided for an elderlies’ corner.



 

 

If you are wondering why there are so much outdoor seating, it’s the govt trying to encourage social interaction in the neighborhood.

This is a long covered foot massage path.  Pebbles of all shapes and sizes forming a path to walk on. Kick your shoes off and take a stroll if you believe in foot reflexology.  I’m fine with the bigger pebbles, the sharp ones, no thanks.

The car park at the rear of the block. It’s paved and with trees for shade, though they are not yet fully grown. It comes with some covered lots and electronic gantry systems, no need for car park attendants.

 

 

 

Everything has been done to meet the needs of the elderly.  There are ramps everywhere. Elevators are audio-enabled and they don’t close on you unless the close button is pressed. Communal garbage chutes are on every floor, easily accessible even for those on wheelchairs. Residents pay a small conservancy fee to take care of building cleaning, maintenance and garbage collection. Utilities are at lower rates. Normal charges apply for car park. This block is for elderlies, so there are no playgrounds. Elsewhere, there are children’s playgrounds for every 5 or 6 block.

Sorry if this looks like a real estate brochure. I just wish to share something that citizens should have a chance to look forward to. Is it within the means of Philippines? Why not. If only the government really governs and plans for the people.  By GDP size, Filipinos can take pride that the country can be a key economic player. Stop the thingy mentality, endeavor for grandeur plans, and demand the government pay attention to your needs.

 

Comments
104 Responses to “The golden years”
  1. chemp, this is waaay better than my Soylent Green concept I’m always trying to push here!

    But seriously though, that’s awesome. The Philippines has a surplus of nurses and caregivers (even doctors), so why can’t it be a center of geriatric care of the world, great people, great climate, great care, at a great price.

    Thailand’s got the Philippines beat on medical care right now , but I’m sure if they really sit down and realize the potential for geriatric care (initially from the 1st world, but the profit generated could easily help out the 3rd world local oldies too, that’s the bigger concept operating here).

    It’s a matter of getting the Philippine gov’t to reach out to the Filipino nurses over here (not too many doctors though) and have them start sending old farts your way. If you build it they will come. For example , VA geriatrics (veterans) here from ones with actual service disability (with a pretty large stipend) to ones down-and-out thus on medicare (still pretty good amount, thanks to Uncle Sam), those guys can be pushed towards the Philippines.

    The US gov’t can totally outsource geriatric care over there, it’s cost effective for us taxpayers, and perfect for the old farts (could also re-kindle their inner teenager too, if you know what I mean 😉 ) , quality care plus great quality of life.

    I hope someone acts on this. I know old Americans were going to Belize and Mexico (Baja side), but with all the narco stuff, I’m sure some sorta Philippines is great for old people ad campaign can be started, get people over here in the mean to start considering moving to the Philippines.

    • Joe’s cremation business too, can totally sky rocket.

      so too a lot of businesses ,

      this way families there aren’t torn apart, going to the 1st world to do caregiving, while their kids are doing shabu back home.

      This is better than BPO, at least in geriatric care you’ll tap into age old wisdom and experience, and probably also receive some part or all of the old folks’ inheritance legacy.

      What say you , on the business potential of this industry, chemp?

      • chemrock says:

        Re cremation biz you have to ask Joe to share his market research.

        Off the cuff it would be like selling refrigerators to eskimos. Pesos are hard to come by so kind of tough to get the folks to cough out additional funds for cremating. I guess Joe must have tired to sell on cost savings in terms of storage space for the urns for ashes compared to space for traditional burial.

        In a Christian country (I hope Filipinos are still Christians, ejk notwithstanding), it may be hard to tell people to cremate and wait for rebirth.

        My guess is the PNP would love cremating those killed in Operation Tokhang. All evidence gone Whew. After all Burn Burn Burn kind of has a rythmic buzz to Kill Kill Kill. They can sing it to the tune of Turn Turn Turn by The Byrds.

    • “(In Singapore, all store-rooms double as air raid bomb shelters — they are specially steel reinforced rooms with a heavy metallic door). “

      Why is this, chemp? Some post-WWII , remnant , if so why is it still around.

      “After retirement, most elderly may have some savings to get by, but the major part of their investments is locked up in the house they are staying in. They are asset rich but cash poor. “

      As for this home equity stuff, the two most popular loans/refinancing options are,

      Cash-out refinance and Home equity loans,

      If older Americans (not on some disability gig, or medicare) who’ve decided to go to the Philippines to enjoy their remaining years, but want to retain their homes say for their kids left behind , can they do something similar , get money going to pay for their geriatric care , and have their kids pay the rest (and still retain their parents home) , whilst not getting dirty with caregiving?

      What are other options to entice old Americans to go there? Who are “asset rich but cash poor”.

      • chemrock says:

        Re store-rooms

        It’s a policy decision of 40 years. The country is high density high rise. There is nowhere to run to. So we have family bomb shelters. If you look at Alleppo and Marawi the scene is flattened cities. In Singapore you will see high rise structures destroyed but columns of steel store-rooms standing. At least that’s what the architects say.

        We have bomb shelters at public places for those caught outside during an air raid. Underground MRT stations also serve as bomb shelters ala London’s Tube.

        Re refinancing old folks’ homes.
        The Singapore way is down-sizing. Your suggestion is retain the same house but refinance to obtain cash for old age. Loan to old geezers are gonna be difficult and more costly because borrowers got no income. If the intention is to have the children pay for the loans, why not gift the house to them instead. Then they can get it refinanced, proceeds of the loan go to the parents. Clean cut. The new loan will be at cheaper rates.

        • That storeroom concept still blows my mind, chemp. That you guys are thinking air raid, is awesome. Societies usually forget this stuff as soon as they can. Nuke shelters used to be really popular here, but in the 80s easily forgotten, though the ones that remained easily converted to tornado or hurricane shelters.

          Thanks, that gifting idea is a lot cleaner. See, the Philippine consulates here should be proactively going in the VA hospitals, old folk facilities, casinos and hold seminars about how more Fun it is in the Philippines for old people. And they should have these ready answers, like gift homes, like what if they die over there, etc. etc. Start implementing this already.

    • chemrock says:

      “The Philippines has a surplus of nurses and caregivers (even doctors), so why can’t it be a center of geriatric care of the world, great people, great climate, great care, at a great price.”

      I agree, Philippines is well-placed for this industry. I think Arroyo time they promoted this industry. Philippines has one of the most generous retirement program for foreigners. The fees are very low in comparison to many other countries. It has’nt quite taken off because of security concerns.

      • karlgarcia says:

        http://www.pra.gov.ph/

        “The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is a government owned and controlled corporation created by virtue of Executive Order No. 1037, signed by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos on 04 July 1985. On 31 August 2001, through Executive Order No. 26, the control and supervision of PRA was transferred to the Board of Investments (BOI) – Department of Trade and Industry from the Office of the President.

        On 12 May 2009, Republic Act No. 9593, otherwise known as Tourism Act of 2009, PRA became an attached agency of the Department of Tourism and placed under the supervision of the Secretary.

        PRA is mandated to attract foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens to invest, reside and retire in the Philippines with the end-view of accelerating the socio-economic development of the country, contributing to the foreign currency reserve of the economy and by providing them the best quality of life in the most attractive package.”

      • Bill In Oz says:

        As an Aussie who spent a week at Chinese General last year in Manila, I can vouch for th care and professional quality of the medical & nursing staff. Hell I can even vouch for the cheery character of the orderlies who wheeled me around the hospital to various specialist departments and to the operating room and to my ward.. Beyond my expectations and as good as here.. The cost was met by my travel insurance policy. But as one staffer in the Insurance company said. it cost a good deal less that here in Oz. Ditto for the post hospital stay care : quite thorough and far lower cost.

        • chemrock says:

          Got to agree with you.
          Had a friend who had a stork. Was hospitalised in Phils. He came out OK.

          • Provincial doctors and hospitals lack the funds to provide quality care. The system of no appointments, first come wait to be served, results in mobs of sick people hanging around in the hallways catching new diseases. Local doctors have cubby-hole offices and dispense pills. It is cheap, for sure, but occasionally malaria gets diagnosed as appendicitis.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Yes all that is true Joe. But there are also Hospitals, clinics, and medical staff who are among the best in the world. Thailand has made a lucrative industry out of meeting the medical needs of foreigners even though few of it’s population speak English or any other foreign language.

              This should be an extra opportunity for employment of skilled, professional people in the Philippines. But yes very probably in Manila or Cebu etc. Not is the public health system in the remoter provinces…

              • Agree. Here is an article that explains what the Philippines is trying to do, and its relative success:

                http://www.manilatimes.net/ph-ranks-8th-in-world-as-medical-tourism-destination/262013/

              • “This should be an extra opportunity for employment of skilled, professional people in the Philippines. But yes very probably in Manila or Cebu etc.”

                Or even a small town or island, Bill. Say if Joe’s beloved Biliran island, sees opportunity in geriatric care, partners with a developer to set up some Sun City, AZ type community (specific to seniors) , with great amenities , care and hospice/dying and funeral arrangements.

                The funeral industry associated with this geriatric care industry is an industry to itself, this industry is the worst over here, Bill. It’s the most mechanical, unfriendly and uncaring, where I would think they’d be the exact opposite; but then again everyone dies so they kinda have a captured market.

                At least people are now starting to realize this over here, http://www.rootsimple.com/2012/11/alternatives-to-the-funeral-industrial-complex/

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Yes Lance I agree. But it will take considerable investment in infrastructure as well in the more remote islands and provinces. I doubt that provincial governments will do this or have the funds. And so that means that investors would be needed to fill the gap.

              • Yeah, Bill, some big developer has to partner with local governments. It seems very lucrative, siphon foreign money by enticing foreign old people (which there are plenty of here), then convince them to do their dying there too.

    • Miela says:

      The Philippines barely has the infrastructure, both private and public. With a growing population (and fast at that), the number of private and public hospitals have been stalled. So , unless there is heavy investment in healthcare infrastructure, the Philippines will not really be a healthcare destination. It care barely serve its citizens especially those living in the rural areas. Despite having high doctor/nurse to patient ratio, the Philippines is sending nurses and doctors abroad as an export like factory workers or domestic helpers.

      • If the Philippines can sustain regular tourism (ie. 4 star resorts); sex tourism (ie. EDSA entertainment complex); eco tourism (ie. dirt bike tours into the mountains; or boat tours into sea caves), then I’m sure they can make medical tourism work, Miela, it’s a simple concept.

        It’s not dependent on whether or not theres medical care for Filipinos, just like those 4 star resorts weren’t built over there with the thought of , can we get poor Filipinos access to 4 star resorts, or EDSA entertainment complex, can we get pier workers get laid, or sea caves for poor Filipinos, no.

        The model is if there’s foreigners (with money) with demand for this service, industry, can the Philippines supply it, and the answer is already yes, ie. surplus of medical and care folks, remember we are not talking about fancy hospital complexes here (though eventually you’d want that), but simply communities (life style stuff) to hospice care.

        so if the Philippines can construct fancy neighborhoods or 4 star resorts, it’s basically just that but with medical social support.

  2. josephivo says:

    I would rather die than live in a building with only elderly neighbors. To see grey hair I return to Belgium so now and then, the lack of it the main reason I live in the Philippines.

    By the way, in Belgium they are coming back from these concentration policies. New developments try to mix all type of people, specialized elderly flats between student housing, young families, wealthier standalone houses with gardens, shops… I seems to be nicer, more lively to live in mixed societies. In a new development in Leuven (site only in Dutch  ) the elderly accommodations vary from standard flats, over flats for equipped for people with special needs, flats with assistance (food and cleaning and/or medical).

    In the Philippines generations still live closer together. Sending lola to a faraway apartment? How crude.

    • chemrock says:

      I agree it’s somewhat depressing to have a bunch of white hairs living together in a secluded area. Good housing mix is important. That is what we have, the estate is mixed. Mixed housing in various demographic metrics is our established housing policy. We have higher-lower income mix, racial mix, golden oldies-general mix. For income mix we have even incorporated this into different housing units within each block. We even have generation-mix where 2 generations can have different units within the same block, allowing a family to have a small unit for their aged parents within the same block. 2 generation housing applicants get additional subsidy.

  3. NHerrera says:

    MY THOUGHTS ON THE BLOG

    Thank you again chemrock for the usual well-written piece in TSH.

    For an elderly like myself, who moved in to a 50 sq meter something, one floor unit after selling off a 800 sq meter lot with a relatively nice house after the kids — who now have families of their own — moved out, it feels like what my wife and I have now. Our village has only about 150 units, privately financed, not government financed. The advantage of my unit is that it is just two steps from the ground, with a roof above our head, no elevators to worry; and it has a park cum basketball court cum community meeting place especially for Christmas party and the like. The best for me is that with one and quarter hour, I get to have my 5-km walk in the early evening. Another advantage — my village is populated with young professionals all the way to my kind of situation — so my wife and eye get to see young kids in stroller all the way to the elderly, a full-spectrum of the living.

    What I described, however, is very modest indeed compared to what you wrote for the elderly.

    I hope most of the elderly in the PH have the same situation, not like you described which is much better in comparison. You wrote, after describing Singapore, Why not in the PH. Rather than listing why it cannot be in the PH for a long-long time and destroy the very nice atmosphere and feelings your article engendered, I will end here.

    • NHerrera says:

      so my wife and eye = so my wife and I

      Geez, what is happening to my eyes.

      • chemrock says:

        Nothing wrong with your eyes, NHerrera. It’s the mind and fingers disconnect. Happen to me sometimes too.

        You are lucky NHerrera. Sounds like you have a cozy place there. Keep those boots walking. Talking about walking, our streets are very pedestrian friendly. What I like in my country is the greening of the cities. It’s a very important part of our environment enhancement. Because ours is a high rise high density living, we don’t want it to become a concrete jungle, so lots of effort went into greening the city. In newer estates, lots of effort went into using pockets of greeneries to sort of partition the land. So at eye level one does not get the feeling of cramped in by high rise buildings. You get some feeling of space. And I should mention the footpaths everywhere. Within the vicinity of where one lives, there are so many places for jogging and pleasant strolls. At my bro’s place I jog around a few blocks which i estimate the footpath is about 1.5 km, so 2 rounds is just about good to round off my day.

        I used to stay at Makati and jog around the Ayala Triangle which is rather nice, with trees and lots of other joggers. At Paranaque where I stayed, it was impossible to jog. I had to take a jeepney ride to the Layola Cemetery which is actually a lovely place for jogging.

      • popoy says:

        hi ka edad friend, aye noticed the wrong word each (it’s) really because of ther week end (weakened) mine este mind. you know the all this este oldies, it’s not mostly the ice este eyes. It is in the bean este the brain. That’s why It takes me twice or tries este thrice the time to finish writing a clean paragraph.

        It’s the reason to I can guess by reading errors in a write up I can guess how far the journey of a writer from child to child has reached so far. Also whine este why one minute of the young people mens este means four minutes to the old. When capacity and efficiency of the mind decreases so does the senses. You don’t feel, see, hear, smell, taste, etc. as before.

  4. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Looks like a wonderland for the oldies.

    2. One test of government is the vision that it is “for the people.” Here we find a thoughtful implementation of that vision.

    3. And one test for the humaneness of society is its treatment of those who make little or no contribution to society – the young, the poor, the criminal, the deranged, the disabled, and the elderly. Here we find the fine quality of that humaneness.

    4. In Oz, as it is in Singapore and unlike in the Philippines, it is not customary for the children to take care of their aging parents. There are retirement homes and villages and, since the country is land rich, the facilities are spread out horizontally. However, I recently read of an instance of a corporation seeking to maximize their investment in a nice retirement village in the city by forcing their present residents to sell their nice cottages so that they can build upwards.

    5. As I enter the demographic of the golden years, I entertain the idea of downsizing to a small unit. But I see age, as I see other things, as a matter of having the right attitude. And I just cannot see myself playing bingo.

    5.1. As I google the topic of assisted suicide in Singapore, I see more than a screen full, more than a passing interest in the topic. Homo sapiens has miles to go before it sleeps.
    *****

    • chemrock says:

      It’s always nice to see positive views of goldies. Just like you, I’m heading in that direction. Never really sit down to contemplate it because i don’t want to get depressive. So I live carpe diem. I love the outdoors and I jog and walk as much as I can.

      A humane society is lovely to behold. I love Philippines culture of deference to senior citizens.

      • popoy says:

        A country that’s third or first world that care for its young children and the elderly health wise is the country for me. Poor it may be Philippines beats them all in OFWs doing compassionate care giving and baby sitting as they do it free and with love at home to family members. In affluent US, Canada, etc they provide SUSTAINED funding and infrastructure for the well being of their young and old; the wealth producers and the working class take care of themselves. Of course the difference is there are more corruption by the elite in poorer countries than in the developed ones.

        • NHerrera says:

          Poor it may be Philippines beats them all in OFWs doing compassionate care giving and baby sitting as they do it free and with love at home to family members.

          Popoy, true it is, I agree in the case of the OFW and its family — not the poor and very poor; some have to sell their kids to the DOM, sorry to say; and the old, disabled have to amble their way, risking cars running over them to beg, of course with their take being reduced further by sharing with some corrupt government employees who allow such.

          • NHerrera says:

            And that is not ECHE BUCHECHE, friend. 🙂

            • popoy says:

              :–not the poor and very poor; some have to sell their kids to the DOM, sorry to say; and the old, disabled have to amble their way, risking cars running over them to beg, of course with their take being reduced further by sharing with some corrupt government employees who allow such.

              IT IS IT IS the despicable soulless kind of eche bucheche of animals that roam the earth. No worry it will happen not in a hundred years may be, but the French Rev that so inspired Andres Bonifacio worst than tarred, feathered and quartered by four horses will surely happen not in our time perhaps when a Pinoy Robespierre will appear, dish it out and be a victim of it himself. Then the first paragraph as in France now will be no more.

          • popoy says:

            MY KA EDAD, more than fifty years ago Dra Fe Del Mundo started the Children’s Hospital. By now every province INSPIRED by her should have an aging one. God take care of their souls what every Governor, Senator, Congressman, City Mayor have done to establish in terms of hospitals and homes for the children and the elderly in their areas of responsibility. Well of and enriched by their government sinecures, they and their family should be ashamed and pilloried with shoes.

        • chemrock says:

          I share your sentiments Popoy

  5. gerverg1885 says:

    This is a very good idea on how to better take care of the elderlies.

    The only problem is: this will be a great opportunity for left leaning groups like the Kadamay to take over the occupancy of the units like what they did to the housing projects intended for police personnel and their families.

    Or maybe such plan can be brought to reality once Duterte and his minions are gone and sanity is back in government offices.

    • chemrock says:

      Basically, we all want a govt that is citizen-oriented. The purpose of this blog is simply to show what can be achieved if a govt does its job properly. Unfortunately, Philippines is in a big mess today and it seems it’s gonna get worse.

  6. One of the distinguishing traits of Filipinos and other Asians is filial piety. It is the righteous and virtuous act of love for one’s parents and elders. It is a beautiful family tradition that cannot be compared to even to the most professional and high end nursing homes. I hope a lot of Filipinos still believe in the sanctity of the obligations and responsibilities brought about by the circle of life. When we were babies, helpless and dependent, our parents reared us until we can be independent. When our parents age and become frail and reliant, it is our turn to take care for them.

    I understand that geriatric independent living facilities, skilled nursing homes and hospices are signs of progress but I still believe that the elderly want to be with their family for as long as they can. My MIL passed away last year and we cared for her until we needed professional medical help. Now, we got my FIL and we will do the same thing. We will not send him to an old folks home because his home is with us.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      *******
      Juana,

      I don’t know. Personally, I would not obligate my children to look after me in my old age.

      What you have described is the “argument for reciprocity.” The link below discusses this and the other arguments for filial obligations:

      o Duties emanating from friendship
      o Parents needs as the basis for obligations
      o Filial obligations as an assumed promise
      o Obligation stemming from the special good of a parent–child relationship

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015170/

      Sorry, the article is quite long.

      I believe the conclusion of the article aligns with Chemrock’s comment made on July 24, 2017 at 11:00 am.

      Again, personally, as I have stated before, I would like to go when I am still in possession of my faculties. Of course, one cannot pinpoint the time when one is still in possession, but I pray the gods grant me the choice of the day and hour to drink the hemlock… and that the hemlock tastes like Budweiser.
      *****

      • We are not going to make our children to take care of us either, Edgar. Here in the US, children do not have the obligation to take care of their aged parents or relatives. The government has good programs that will assist and pay for geriatric services. A lot of Americans have prepaid arrangements and/or private insurances to cover needed services. At this point of our lives, we (hubby and I) have the resources and time so we decided that we will honor our parents by taking care of them in their twilight years.

        Hubby and I talked about how we will handle our own aging and we already started making the preparations (retirement home in the country, wills, medical insurances, funeral arrangements, etc) so our children will not be burdened by our demise. We discussed this with our children and they understand that we are not snaring them to take care of us in our old age. We are leaving them a living will stating that we do not want to be resuscitated nor do we want to go on living without quality of life. As morbid some of our family conversations are, they are fully aware that we are trying to make life as easy as we could for them when we get old and die.

        I just wish some Filipinos would take care of their elders as PH does not have a lot of geriatric services available.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Bully for you and hubby, Juana!
          *****

        • NHerrera says:

          JP, on your two posts above: ! ! !

          • NHerrera says:

            My wife and I do the usual video chat with our two children with their families living abroad. When they ask how we are doing, we answer like, “we are doing relatively well considering our ages.” Meaning we keep our ailments, minor or not too minor, to ourselves. As the wife and I have asked often, what more do we want with life; we have to go sometime. We have things prepared too.

            • I do not know if we will be able to know when we are about to go. It will be nice to be able to say goodbye to the kids even though we all want to save them from the pain of seeing us at death’s door.

        • chemrock says:

          I admire what you are doing.

        • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

          An aunt of mine keeps on emphasizing that it’s not the responsibility of children to take care or support their parents either when they are incapacitated or when they get old and in need of TLC. So when my grandparents became ill, she went ahead minding her own business knowing her sisters will not be as negligent. Now an old grandma herself, she is forever hesitating to require her children to provide for her basic needs and maintenance meds, but strangely she is always expecting her siblings to provide her with such needs by tearfully giving obvious hints (bleeding heart, another sister is)

          My response as always is this – True, but it’s a matter of choice to ignore their needs or to care for them out of LOVE and not out of responsibility. Surely, charity begins at home; you cannot be a good samaritan in far flung areas to complete strangers then blatantly ignore a helpless parent or sibling most especially when they did not have the capacity to provide for their needs in their golden/twilight years (as in most cases all over our country) or they had expended all their resources and energy providing for the family.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Mary, you get to the heart of things.

            “… it’s a matter of choice to ignore their needs or to care for them out of LOVE and not out of responsibility.”

            The word “obligation” has two senses:

            o “An act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.”
            o “A debt of gratitude for a service or favor.”

            We should not try to obligate people in the second sense. That action is perhaps without honor.

            When we obligate ourselves to do something in the first sense, then it is alright. That action is honorable.
            *****

            • chemrock says:

              The one who gives must give without expectation of reciprocity. To do so is to hurt oneself when denied a favour returned. The giving must be unconditional otherwise the giving is selfish.

              The one who received must pay forward or honour the one who gives when the latter is in need. It is not an obligation. but a cherished opportunity to show love.

              In Philippines the politician hands out pittance and expects subservience and loyalty. The one who receives feels beholden to the giver and compromises himself with blind loyalty.

              • When a baby’s born or a kid is growing up, he doesn’t know about these favors, he’s too young to know. When the adult grows and gets old, eventually his mind will be that of a baby, and by that time the favor(s) won’t match the actual hassle of caring for an old person with a baby’s mind—– at least a baby’s behind is easier to wash and clean.

                So this caring for old age, doesn’t quite match for the care you give to a baby or child (most times it’s fun, and that’s a big difference, ie. baby caring pays for itself) , with caring for old people it’s not.

                I think the flaw is in equating the two , caring for child and caring for old. The only humane thing to do is what edgar proposed, the old have to suck it up and committ suicide— hence the importance of actually having a plan to do this, not just theoretically thinking about it, ie. actually having a DNR bracelet or necklace,

                talking to your loved ones, ensuring they (if no medical professionals are present) do not resuscitate you. Also not doing it inside ones home, for the sake of the homes resale value, but also to ensure you don’t unnecessarily traumatize your loved ones, ie. the stench, mangled body, or if old enough maggots, etc. So this part requires a whole lot of planning.

                Exit Int’l (Bill’s Australian doctor) is a luxury, when you think about it, we don’t really need all these fancy drugs, there’s plenty of ways to off oneself that’ll be clean and painless (if painless is of importance), but clean should be the operating word when planning for suicide. That’s the best paying if forward, I know of, chemp—— the greatest act of love, if no self-sacrifice is available (ie. in war or in a violent circumstance, saving a kid), actually it too is a form of self-sacrifice.

              • chemrock says:

                Lance I get what you say.
                My personal feeling in this is like this –

                For me as being the oldie. I’m in total agreement with you. I don’t want to burden the children. I would’nt want to force anyone to look after me.

                For me as a son, I would’nt let my parents suffer. I would sacrifice as much as I can to see they are as comfortable as I can ever afford.

              • p.s.~ my point of ‘painless is of importance’ to you is that this a false concern, since you’re gonna die anyways.

                So the only thought should only be in doing it cleanly. For example drowning is clean and painless (ie. you just pass-out, maybe the body convulses but you pass out first), but the clean part of it has to be well thought out, like you have to anchor yourself so you go down in the water, and when decomposing your head will likely surface first , so wear a hoodie to keep your head from pre-maturely detaching from your body. Ideally,

                if drowning is the preferred choice, the body shouldn’t surface, because a drowned body is not clean, it’s disgusting to look at, hence the trauma to loved ones. that’s just one example, but if you look into others, you’ll realize this standard for cleanliness is difficult, hence all the planning necessary here. So plan ahead is my point.

              • “For me as a son, I would’nt let my parents suffer. I would sacrifice as much as I can to see they are as comfortable as I can ever afford.”

                I agree with you on this, chemp, but love not duty. My talk on suicide though is just for when things have shifted to worst, ie. Alzheimers, incontinence , pain, etc. etc. but old folks tend to have never thought about offing themselves, either for fear or religious convictions, etc. so many times these suicides actually involve euthanasia (from talking your parents to doing it to actually carrying it out helping ’em do it).

                It’s all different for everyone, and pls. don’t feel like i’m trying to impose my own worldview here, i know for many of you here this is very real right now, i’m simply calling for planning and thinking these ideas through.

      • josephivo says:

        “I would like to go when I am still in possession of my faculties”, me too. Who are you when no more in possession of all faculties? Still the same person? Still a human being? The answers might depend on the degree of disability and very different for each individual. When I’m no more the same conscious person as I am today than I don’t see any reason to remain a burden for society or serve as an instance for my loved ones to collect karma. Rely on my own confused self to take the decision to quit? On my biased family? Or on a medical professional?

        I’m not an expert in this field. It seems that a medical professional can make the most objective decision. I hope him/her to have the same courage as the ones in the British hospital that saw the hopeless suffering of the 1 year old child and decided (or strongly advise?) to stop unnecessary life extension. Should I tattoo this on my chest as the lady I saw on TV? Just hoping for the best seems too passive.

        • In the US, most elderly are encouraged to have a living will and a durable power of attorney. The living will or advance directive to physicians spells out your wishes on how you want your end of life medical care. The durable power of attorney designates a person who can make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable.

          • josephivo says:

            Yes, this is nice in “stable” conditions, but things happen too when traveling… do all emergency rooms check your wallet first?

            What if the deterioration is very gradual, what is the point to act?

            • Ah, good question.

              The answer is I do not know. I would think that medical professionals will want to know if you have anything on you that will give them a clue of your identity, medical history and directive. There are portable products in the market available such as medical bracelets, medical history USB fobs, medical alert necklaces and more.

              I think the right time to have things in order is while one is healthy and mobile. It will also help to have a trusted companion while traveling.

              • If police finds you, and you’re still breathing/conscious, they’ll have all your items on your person inside a clear plastic bag sealed with a rubber band (or simply tied at the top), since they’re looking for evidence.

                If you’re dead, no one touches you , only the coroners peeps. They’ll have your items stored.

                If medical emergency only, meaning no cops show up, then firemen/paramedics will get a hold of your ID, just for their paper work, and stick it back in your wallet, they’re not in the habit of looking for evidence.

                Emergency room guards, security, will fish everything out of your clothes, stick it in some clear bag, and another big clear bag to store your clothes and shoes.

                If paramedics haven’t ripped up all your clothes yet, ER staff will do that. There’s usually no unbottoning or unzippering, they use scissors to get clothes off.

                Most old folks who’ve planned ahead will have tags, either as bracelets or necklace, DNRs,

      • “I would like to go when I am still in possession of my faculties”, me too. Who are you when no more in possession of all faculties?

        Have you guys thought any more of this plan? What mode specifically are you guys planning to execute.

        I personally plan to have a say in how I go too, but we all know there’s no guarantees, accidents, seemingly low risk situations, become high risk, etc. But if it’s a potential Hemingway situation,

        Here’s my standards, 1) it’s not messy (for others to have to clean up or witness/trauma; 2) there won’t be indirect material liability, ie. home value lowers because of your death inside.

        Here in California Right To Die seems to be evolving, eventually I think businesses will develop to oblige people who want to die and not be an unnecessary burden to anyone.

        But here’s a start , no firearms, no knives, no ropes. Drowning and getting stuck out in the cold, supposedly is slow and peaceful, but a drowned body or frozen body would just be too traumatic for anyone coming across it.

        So again back to Soylent Green, a peaceful death, but instead of turning your remains into crackers, why not commit suicide right in the cremation premises, get wheeled to the crematorium and come out as ashes, for love ones to carry out, either to keep or to throw in your favorite spot.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Lance Here is Oz, Dr Philip Nitsche has fostered the right to die for the past 25 years. Now he is based in Switzerland. He established Exit International. See https://exitinternational.net/about-exit/dr-philip-nitschke/

          Meanwhile in Victoria ( one of our states, the labor party government is promoting the right to die in new legislation which is being voted on as a conscience vote.; and not yet decided. Interesting !

          But here in South Australia the Labor Party state government has attempted to prevent any such legislative change even though polls show roughly 80% are in favor.

          • Bill, I saw a documentary on Exit Int’l . I hope this idea takes root.

            Also if this gets accepted in general, a non-profit like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Prevention will also get into Soylent Green , denial of reproductive choice is pretty much in the same ball park already (the parking lot).

            Maybe DU30 should’ve started with that option first, then his EJK campaign.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Dr. Nirsche was forced to stop parctising medicine here in Oz by extremist Right To Life groups.
              He was accused of physically assisting at a couple of people’s euthanasias – without evidence..

              In fact what he did was encourage them to assert the right to die because of major chronic incurable pain. And they did the rest.

              There have been news stories here in South Australia where police have gone to the home of elderly sick folk and removed drugs that they has ordered for themselves via the net. Presumably at the instance of ‘friends’ or relatives. Who needs such friends or relatives ?

              But this will change. Changing the law in Victoria will pen the gates I think .

      • chemrock says:

        Edgar, very interesting article indeed.

        In Spore we wrestled with this matter of policy with a framework of justice but from a different angle. Firstly the govt takes cognisance of a greying population and so plans services and infras to assist the elderlies. Secondly, as this article pointed out, we cannot put too much burden on the children where they are unable to, especially those with just one or two children. So there are some fiduciary arrangements for such children to fall back on. Thirdly, and this is something unique only to Spore, we have passed legislation that imposes a legal obligation on the children to help take care of their parents who can no longer fend for themselves. This policy was influenced by many real life incidents. Education is very important to many families and there are parents who deny themselves the fruits of their labour and invest heavily on their children. It is a great sacrifice that many parents willingly take on. Only to see their MBA children going after the 4 C’s — cash, car, condo, country clubs and totally ignore their parents.

  7. karlgarcia says:

    http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/more-on-community-police-doctors-schools/

    I wrote something about the need for doctors to the barrios ( among other needs) in the link above.

  8. OFF TOPIC

    Though Duterte admitted his use of paid trolls during the election period, he denies having use for them now so he no longer pays them. He just give them government positions?

    I have a hunch that the cyber trolls skew the poll results and still manipulate the public’s perception of PRD to this day (IMHO).

    The article is about an University Oxford study of 28 countries’ deployment of trolls to influence public opinion titled “Troops, trolls and troublemakers: A global inventory of organized social media manipulation.”

    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/24/1721044/duterte-camp-spent-200000-troll-army-oxford-study-finds

    • Just thought this is very interesting and some TSH members will probably find it very amusing. It is about a Twitter Audit of PH celebrities’ and politicians’ accounts:

      http://rogue.ph/fake-followers-filipino-twitter/

      • NHerrera says:

        I did a little arithmetic with the numbers:

        * With the total followers — real and fake — numbering 1 million and above (entertainment celebrities) the average real twitter followers to the total is 81% +/- 5%.

        * With the total followers — real and fake — numbering less than a million and above (politicians, including Uson) the average real twitter followers to the total is 92% +/- 2%.

        * The total followers of Bong Bong Marcos is less than a million at 775,279 and he is the only one with a ratio of real twitter followers to the total of 55%.

        It seems the entertainment celebrities followers have the tendency to pump up their numbers with more fake tweets than the followers of the politicians, with the very interesting exception of BBM.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Interesting study Karl ! Thanks.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    Retirement can be connected to our discussions of Social Security and pensions.
    In summary government retirees are better of than SSS pensioners.

  10. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe, also off topic. I guess you already know this news story from Naval on Biliran Island
    “NZ man shot dead in central Philippines

    Associated Press
    3:39PM July 27, 2017
    ..

    A New Zealand man has been shot dead during a robbery at a market in the Philippines.

    Simon Rawlinson, 63, was killed by a man on the back of a motorcycle in the town of Naval on Biliran island, police say.

    The assailants took his bag, a laptop and documents.

    Rawlinson, a long-time resident of nearby Maripipi island, was in Naval for a trip to the market when attacked Wednesday morning.

    The suspected gunman, a local farmer, has been arrested, senior police officer Jimmy De Lima says.

    A witness led police to the man’s house, De Lima said, where they found a pistol, bullets and clothes the suspect was seen wearing on CCTV footage.

    The motorcycle driver is still at large.

    • Right. It appears the case stems from a personal dispute (jilted girlfriend), if the rumors about town are to be believed. Local governments were quick to put up an 80,000 peso reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprits, and perhaps that unnamed witness will collect. I hope so. Biliran remains a reasonably civilized place and I am sure other foreigners in the area are as pleased as I am with the Governor’s determination to return the community to peace and order.

  11. Bill In Oz says:

    Not so off topic Joe : USA servicemen from the USS Ronald Reagon, in Brisbane helping in the yard of a 90 year old war widow.. A good news story for this Golden Years post.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-28/uss-ronald-reagan-crew-help-garden-of-war-widow-aubrey-mead/8749646

  12. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

    I so admire this post from a namesake FB friend, Mary. She has lost a caregiver and has to do everything before leaving her mom to her cousins while she goes to the office. I posted this comment:

    Ephesians 6:2 ►

    “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–
    Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may be long-lived on the earth.”…

    By taking care of your bed ridden mother, you honor her. God sees that and He will give you what He promises.

    She responded by saying that when her mom gets better, it will be her reward, and that’s enough for her.

    That’s LOVE.

    Maru Xie
    16 hrs ·

    Sa umaga, laba hugas pinggan linis bahay . Saing paliguan si mama palet diaper nya. Init tubig timpla gatas pakakainin sya painumin gamot massage paa nya Bibilhin muna lahat ng kailangan bago ko sya iwan para pumasok sa office ….

    After office hour, uwi daan palengke bili ulam. Bili kailangan sa bahay . pag dating sa bahay , hugas pinggan laba uniform. Saing massage paa Ni mama. Painom gamot luto ulam pakainin si mama punasan katawan nya,Palet diaper. At kung ano anu pa…

    Hirap pero kailangan ko kayanin,…

    For Chemrock, LC, Joe, and others who need it, here is my rough translation:

    In the morning, washing clothes and dishes, cleaning the house. Cook the food, bathe my Mama, change her diaper, boil water for her milk, feed her and help her take her meds, massage her feet and buy all her needs before I leave her for the office.

    After office hour, en route to home, will swing by the market to buy food and other necessities for the home, then wash the dishes and my uniform, cook more food, massage Mama’s feet again, give her her meds, give her dinner, sponge bath, change her diaper and other chores needed to be done before sleeping.

    It’s hard but I need to be able to do it.

    • chemrock says:

      Mary, you can make Will cry with this.

      Me and my siblings we took care of our parents to their last days. Both enjoyed long life of almost 90 years. Fortunately there was enough cash when they downgraded to a small flat and had their own cash. But that ran out pretty fast due to mom’s medical. At least they had an apartment of their own. We siblings were fortunate, because there are 7 of us to share the both the finances and the caregiving. Dad was not a problem, but mom had so many ailments, not least problematic was dementia. Those who don’t experience someone with advanced dementia don’t understand how tough it was to look after mom. We were fortunate in that we could afford a maid to care for her personal needs so we could still do out day job. But hospital stays were many and we were required to take turns to stay with her overnight. Tough as it was, nally a day did we say what a burden. It was simply done spontaneously and unconditionally, as it should be.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        My father died of lung cancer, diagnosed in the year he died (after less than a year). Misdiagnosis, it turned out to be as we struggled with TB treatments that lasted for years only to find out that it was lung cancer, a non-operable one, stage 5 already…it took my persistence in seeking the DOH doctors to explain to me why he was not getting better, they asked me to collect all his x-ray plates and show them. The senior doctors there told me that had he was diagnosed correctly, there could have been a chance. Anyway, since it was on its end stage, we opted to take care of him at home instead of him undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments when the doctor categorically stated that such treatments will not extend his life and that his remaining 6 months will be under horrific pain and suffering, with non-existent appetite, nausea, and vomiting at the Lung Center of the Philippines. We took him to the province so he could have fresh air, fresh vegetables, and his favorite pork adobo. We gave him everything he wanted, close relatives surrounding him, taped marching bands and his other favorite music (Larry Miranda, Ruben Tagalog and Asin). We took him to other places he has never visited before while I searched various shops for pillow sized sour sops (guyabano), a lot of carrot juice and Jason Winters Tea (said to help cancer patients). He lived for another 10 months, with only the last month as bed ridden when he could not stand anymore, but he was happy and complained only of pain in his shoulder and arm. He died in my arms, with all his family around him.

        My mother suffered a stroke, was paralyzed and was bedridden for 8 years. She died 17 years after my father passed on. We also cared for her at home but her frequent bouts of pneumonia and the strong antibiotics given to her cost her her kidney function, ESRD. While in ler last confinement at the Medical City ICU, the 5 doctors attending to her called us in the conference room and persuded us to sign an DNR. I asked for another night to think about it, but she flat lined while still hooked in a dialysis machine. The doctors revived her, and was hooked to a respirator and other machines. She died the following day while still in a coma. Later I was told that the Medical City has waived a lot of rules for us, (They knew me as the one who keep p pestering them in her eight years in and out of the hospital.) Instead of returning her to the ICU, we were given a private room where we prayed and talked to her the whole night, which was never allowed before.

        Caring for a bedridden parent is not a walk in the park. Fortunately, the Medical City Stroke Unit had subjected us to a comprehensive seminar on how to bathe the patient, how to change the diaper in a systematic manner, how to turn her every 2 hours to avoid bed sores, how to keep her happy at all times. I read to her a lot of stories, she enjoyed a lot of jokes I relayed to her most especially the one about a son-in-law who opted to return the body of his mother-in-law back to their country despite the offer of a substantial discount on burial fees in the place where she died in, just because it was the country where Jesus died and was risen again…she laughed a lot at that. We watched a lot of documentaries on cable TV, kept the room nice and comfortable, and spared no amount by way of aircondition, supplements, nutrition and theraphies to avoid complications like pnemonia. Unfortunately, office mates and other people don’t obey the hospital heads up on of covering their mouths while coughing. Most of the time I was the one with a mask if I observe that they can spread thier virus to me who is caring for my mother everynight after office. Still, a simple cough will turn to pneumonia in a matter of hours and we had to rush her to ER and then confinement twice a year. We beat pneumonia but she lost her kidney function. I contracted a lot of loans from the office, banks relatives and credit cards. I was willing to be deeply in debt as long as we can extend her life, but God has other plans and we have to respect and be thankful for the 8 years life extension. We never felt burdened, we did everything for love not out of duty.

      • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

        Dementia, oh no..that it the most unfortunate illness that could visit a family – for someone to completely forget everyone and be in a world of her own. Nowadays, my aunt is caring for my 97-year old grandma who is afflicted with dementia and bedridden to boot due to her fall when she failed to hold on to the door when it swung out… There are times when she forgot even eating, she has to pull apart her lips and hold her jaw in order to spoon feed her with Ensure. It’s truly tough indeed, caring for someone with dementia.

    • “She responded by saying that when her mom gets better, it will be her reward, and that’s enough for her.

      That’s LOVE.”

      I’d like to add another component to this, Mary—- not my intention to take away from this, or yours, or chemp’s experience re caring for parents.

      here goes…

      What if her mom, asked her to help her end her life, or if already suffering from dementia, if it was written in her will, that if she’s no longer her, that she requests to be granted suicide and or euthanasia (her daughter has to help her kill herself). Would that too constitute as LOVE?

      As a Catholic nation, I know for many there, this (even just thinking about it) would be a sin. it’s taboo. But if the elder parent requests to die (verbally or in writing), can this happen in the Philippines now, are there paths to this, wherein not only no legal ramifications but most importantly positive public opinion on this.

      For me, this whole issue was the point of Spinoza’s “Ethics”, yes all philosophy is autobiography in the end, but he wrote Ethics for himself to do exactly this, prepare to die (in so doing , living). A bunch of Japanese books on this written by Samurais had similar sentiments.

      If not now, will Filipinos ever accept it? As another type of elder care, as another form of love?

      • karlgarcia says:

        There are families who do the will of the parents, some may not even want to go to the hospital and want to die at home. Some adhere, some children insist on hispitalization.
        Case to case basis.
        Some children give consent on removing the oxygen.

        • “I contracted a lot of loans from the office, banks relatives and credit cards. I was willing to be deeply in debt as long as we can extend her life, but God has other plans and we have to respect and be thankful for the 8 years life extension. We never felt burdened, we did everything for love not out of duty.”

          Good to know, karl.

          Further, I gotta feeling Mary’s sentiment above represents a big issue in the Philippines. How much do people go into debt usually? What happens to families that don’t know where to draw the line? Are there any statistics or articles on this that you know of, karl? Or personal stories from everyone here.

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/japans-falling-birth-rate-posing-serious-problems-for-economy-a7770596.html Like this problem in Japan, where it is recognized and the gov’t is now attempting to get men and women to mate again—– the opposite problem in the Philippines where you guys are like rabbits 😉 , but

          that going into debt and even farther actually going bankrupt , would IMHO represent a big issue similar to Japan’s very low birth-rate, karl. So are there public service announcements, strategies being batted around? Like how Japan is handling their problem?

          • karlgarcia says:

            Here is the debt situation.

            http://www.stack.com.ph/filipinos-afraid-debt/

            We are sending nurses,caregivers to the UK,Japan,etc, you have heard of doctors becoming nurses in the US.

            That is the upside of over population in the Philippines.
            We are a stop gap neasure to the demographic winter.

            —-
            Going back to debt.
            Even well to do families spend millions of pesos just to extend the life of their loved ones.
            Then after death there are taxes. Paying estate taxes is burdensome,after spending millions in hospital bills then you have to pay 10 -30 percent of the inherited assets, that is why no obe complies, rich or poor. (maybe 1 percent of the taxpayers complies)

            Usually you ask loans from relatives,where you often times forget to pay back, unlike with loan sharks, there is no escape.

            • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

              I was amused when I received a letter from the BIR years after the death of my mother asking us to file and pay the estate tax. I ignored the letter as the house and other properties are all in my name as I was the one who paid for everything. My family belonged to the poorest of the poor and had just crawled out from that status when I began to work.

              • karlgarcia says:

                We discussed inheritance taxes with Chemrock before, but under different circumstances. Actually I forgot what blog topic.

          • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

            LCpl_X

            Thanks for your alternative sentiments. Some Filipinos, (as Karl has mentioned, it’s a case to case basis) due to extreme poverty have no options left but to care for their elders the best they can and watch painfully as they die. Others like me who can afford to pay off any debts incurred would do what they could to make parents comfortable and extend their lives…banks, relatives, credit card companies, and even employers will not grant loans unless they are sure that you have the capacity and willingness to pay in full the loans availed of.

            In my case, God has fulfilled his promises; He made available more than sufficient provisions for me to clear all my debts and to make investments for my own retirement as well as to help my family and relatives who are in need.

            I have an officemate who not only was refused a loan requested from the office but she received an earful of hurtful words from our big boss – words like “I thought you are smart, but you are so dumb and stupid to let yourself be in such situation where you cannot afford to pay your credit card bills.” In her case, she was tempted to use her credit card for a lot of household necessities and other personal things but paid just the minimum amount in her SOA, until it came to a point that with interest and penalties when she failed to pay, the total amount due rose to a staggering 400,000 pesos. Since the office refused to assist her, she was forced to restructure and issue a number of post dated checks which lasted for many years or be sued in court and be subjected to garnishment proceedings.

            In my case, I make it a point to pay in full what I purchased for the month, no minimum amount settlement for me. Of course, it’s always sticking to the principle of buying only what you need and not what you want, with few exceptions for family bonding purposes, After I have paid in full the cash loan I got for my mother’s confinements, the credit card company never earned interest or other charges from me aside from what they get from participating suppliers like malls, groceries, and drug stores. I just make use of the card as plastic money for security reasons; even annual fees are waived because I had that card for almost 2 and half decades already.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          A little late but here today in Oz is this story about Andrew Denton who has been leading the campaign for Voluntary Euthanasia laws in Victoria. He set up an organisation called “Go Gently” for this purpose.

          He was vastly affected by the way that his father died from heart failure. There is a video of him speaking at the formation of Go Gently.

          Be warned : Here is powerful direct, inspiring speaking. And he singles out Catholics for opposing voluntary euthanasia against the will of the people as expressed in the members of the various state parliaments.

      • chemrock says:

        Tough question Lance, the answer is for me personally, I don’t know what to do under the circumstances. If I’m told to pull the plug, I’ll probably procastinate to death.

        Euthanasia is something I have never heard being discussed in our country.

        • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

          Ditto for me, Chemrock and LCpl_X.

          I could not even agree to sign the DND presented to us in that awful conference room. I was Trembling and red all over, crying my heart out. No amount of hugs and tapping of my shoulder by the doctors could console me at that time.

          • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

            Pull the plug? The doctors dared not suggest that to me, they knew how I felt about it. They left us alone in that private room, just visiting every hour until she flat lined again even if she was still on the respirator and other machines.

          • Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

            that’s DNR, not DND…aarrgghh!

  13. karlgarcia says:

    I really followed the teleserye about Alzeimer’s: “The Greatest Love”. I also hear stories from neighbors about how they take care of their elderly. My dad s the same age as NH and Popoy,my mom a few years younger,got to get ready,not necessarily for Alzheimer’s and dementia, but for general caregiving. There is only my sister and me and my family.

  14. Mary Grace P. Gonzales says:

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