Care for elderly/disable Expats in Pattaya?

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Oskar invites three of his compatriots to join him as he shows off the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation received for his interesting and informative talk about care available for elderly/disabled expats.
Oskar invites three of his compatriots to join him as he shows off the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation received for his interesting and informative talk about care available for elderly/disabled expats.

Oskar Jorgensen, the guest speaker at the Pattaya City Expats Club meeting on June 11, answered that question with a resounding “YES!” He spoke about the Baan Norway Care Center, Pattaya, in central Thailand, and the Baan Sabaijai Care Center, That Phanom, in northeastern Thailand. The talk focused on the possibility and options of bringing elderly/disabled family members from Europe, Australia or the United States to a stay in Thailand.

Educated in Norway, Jorgensen established five successful “PROFF” private care centers in Norway before coming to Thailand. Those centers are dedicated to taking care of handicapped people requiring 24-hour care. As a part of the care-center policy, all patients, staff and their children/spouses spend a week long working vacation abroad. In 2000, Oskar brought the group to Thailand and everyone fell in love with the country and they decided to visit only Thailand for future vacations.

Oskar was so impressed with Thailand that he decided to spend a year in Thailand with two patients and found that everything worked out well. He then arranged for the buying of a small hotel, renovated it to meet the needs of the mentally/physically handicapped patients, and opened for business. “So, that’s how we had our beginnings!” explained Oskar.

Accommodation and care in Thailand is much less expensive than most of the Western world. More and more people with disabilities choose to rehabilitate in Thailand and often decide to stay permanently. Municipalities in Scandinavia can send older people and people with disabilities to Thailand or other countries for rehabilitation and care at significantly lower costs than in Scandinavia. Other countries may also have policies that are able to give economic support for rehabilitation in Thailand.

Oskar Jorgensen explains to his PCEC audience that one of the attractions for elderly/disabled foreigners to locate in Thailand is the weather; noting that many of their residents are from Norway and enjoy the fact there is no snow here.
Oskar Jorgensen explains to his PCEC audience that one of the attractions for elderly/disabled foreigners to locate in Thailand is the weather; noting that many of their residents are from Norway and enjoy the fact there is no snow here.

Another advantage is that relatives will have an opportunity to visit their loved ones in a much more relaxed and beautiful resort setting. Several types of transportation are available for the patients/guests and staff in both facilities. Therefore, patients and guests can enjoy visits, along with a vacation, in the Land of Smiles (LOS)!

A video by Pattaya Mail TV entitled, Baan Sabaijai Your Family Home in Thailand part 1, shows an interview with Oskar who explains that the winters in Norway and other countries make the lives of the handicapped very difficult. With many months of snow, wheelchair patients and others with walking disabilities are forced to stay indoors. If they do venture out, they must be covered with many layers of clothing, taking one to two hours of preparation by the caregiver. However, in Thailand, it only takes a few short minutes for patients to get out of their room and experience a myriad of outdoor activities.

Patients enjoy many Thai festivities including Loy Krathong, Songkran, and many other events. Since most of the residents are Norwegian, special care is taken to observe the Norwegian traditions, such as the 17 May Constitution Day celebrations with a traditional 17 May breakfast of freshly baked bread, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. A parade is organized with costumes, native music, flag waving and lots of ice cream! Christmas is also another reason to celebrate with a big party, lots of food, music, games and gifts.

The Pattaya center currently has nine rooms, with six having wheelchair access, large bathrooms, and wide doors. A wheelchair accessible swimming pool is also available. Based on the success of the two care centers, Oskar and his board of advisors are now developing plans to build an extension on the plot next to the Pattaya Care Center to facilitate forty more guests/patients. The Pattaya Care Center currently has a staff of nineteen, including registered nurses and it will soon have a doctor in residence.

There are also plans to build similar centers in Hua Hin and Phuket. Local residents are invited to participate in relief work, which includes the packing and distribution of start packs for newly born babies, and working with the staff to help with various gatherings and events.

MC Roy Albiston welcomes members and visitors to the PCEC’s regular Sunday meeting and invites first time visitors to introduce themselves and say where they are from.
MC Roy Albiston welcomes members and visitors to the PCEC’s regular Sunday meeting and invites first time visitors to introduce themselves and say where they are from.

The Baan Sabaijai Center in That Phanom, along the Mekong River, is located in the “genuine” Thailand and offers many unique activities. Their fitness center offers physical therapy and massage therapy. Individually adapted bicycles are provided to encourage exercise and group activity. This facility also has a wheelchair accessible swimming pool. A printing facility provides occupational therapy by creating decorative coffee cups, mugs and t-shirts. A modern hospital is just 5 minutes away and there is a large shopping mall with easy access for wheelchair users.

Another facet of both care centers is community service. Oskar was aware of a situation in Norway where hundreds of wheelchairs and other equipment for the disabled are summarily destroyed, rather than repaired, due to labor and union rules. He gathered a number of his friends married to Thai ladies and raised enough money to send the equipment to Thailand, in shipping containers, then had them repaired. Dozens of wheelchairs and other equipment to aid the disabled were donated to the Father Ray Foundation, which arranged further redistribution to its Pattaya Vocational School, as well a similar school in Nakhon Panom, Umphur Napot Hospital, in Buriram and to the Chonburi provincial government. Contact can be made by visiting the websites: www.baan–sabaijai.com for That Phanom and www.baan–norway.net for Pattaya.

After the presentation, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on upcoming events. This was followed by the “Open Forum” portion of the meeting, where questions are asked and answered and comments made about expat living in Thailand.

After the presentation, Member Ren Lexander interviewed Oskar Jorgensen. To view the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV58ely6_WM.

For more information on the Club and their activities, visit www.pcec.club.

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