The Ministry of Social Affairs Must Not Think Narrowly About "Nursing Homes"

Photo: Bayu Aprianto/

Jakarta, The PRAKARSA - Minister of Social Affairs Tri Rismaharini expressed her disagreement with the concept of nursing homes, which she conveyed during the commemoration of National Elderly Day (HLUN) 2024 in North Aceh (29/5/2024). According to him, nursing homes are a foreign model and do not suit Indonesian culture. He is also worried that nursing homes will become a justification for children refusing to care for the elderly in their family.

"Such statements show that the Minister of Social Affairs does not understand the dynamics of demographic changes and the current socio-economic structure of Indonesian society. "The presence of elderly homes is actually increasingly important with phenomena such as the increasing elderly population and the sandwich generation," said Herni Ramdlaningrum, Researcher at The PRAKARSA. Friday (31/05/2024).

The PRAKARSA considers the Minister of Social Affairs' statement regarding nursing homes as a foreign culture to be counterproductive and narrow. In fact, the government itself, through the Regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Number 19 of 2012 concerning Guidelines for Social Services for the Elderly, has regulated that elderly homes are social services for the elderly which are carried out through institutions/Institutions for the Social Welfare of the Elderly (LKS LU) using a boarding system.

"The Minister of Social Affairs' statement is a form of the government's lack of understanding regarding the challenges faced by the sandwich generation, where children support and care for two generations, both their children and their elderly parents," said Herni. Research The PRAKARSA 2021 shows that 66,3% of the productive age group live in three-generation households.

From a gender perspective, the role of caring for elderly parents is generally carried out by girls, resulting in low participation of women in the labor market. Women from poor families face the dilemma of whether to work to meet the economic needs of their family, including their parents, or work and leave their parents at home. BPS 2023 data shows that the Labor Force Participation Rate (TPAK) for women is only 60,18%. Much lower than male workers (86,97%). This gap will be difficult to narrow if the government hands over the care of elderly parents to the family alone.

"Blaming society, especially the working age group, and stating that they do not have time to care for their parents is not the right statement. "Moreover, it is women who are ultimately always responsible for the care role in the household," emphasized Herni.

Deputy Director of The PRAKARSA, Victoria Fanggidae, stated that the government should evaluate and improve the existence of existing elderly homes, both government and private. “The research PRAKARSA regarding the elderly shows that elderly homes are still very much needed. This is because many elderly people do not have families, or their relationships with their families are not harmonious, or their families are unable to provide the health care that elderly people need."

However, due to the lack of number of institutions, the waiting list for elderly people to enter an institution is often very long. Many existing homes are overcrowded and do not have proper care facilities or sufficient and qualified nursing staff.

“The government must not be slow in developing programs for the welfare of the elderly. "The dynamics that occur must be responded to in innovative ways and according to community needs," said Victoria. The government should instead be responsible for building a better impression of elderly homes. That an elderly home is not a place to abandon the elderly, but rather an alternative way to ensure welfare and respect for the elderly. Not having a home can actually result in neglect.

Elderly people have the right to make all choices related to their lives. Elderly people have the right to choose where they live and who will care for and accompany them in their old age.

“Elderly care homes can be an option that should be provided by the state. The rights approach must be the basis of government thinking. The government needs to provide care homes with quality standards that are accessible to the public. "Imposing care obligations on the family and blaming the productive age group for being absent from culture and religion because they are busy working shows a low understanding of the state of society," concluded Victoria.

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