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Homes for the elderly: new market

Although the population is aging rapidly, the nursing home market in Vietnam remains under-explored.

At the recent 2nd National Conference on Geriatrics, Dr. Pham Thang, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Geriatrics, said that according to the 2019 census, Vietnam has 11.41 million elderly people, accounting for 11.86% of the population. The country officially entered the aging population period in 2012 and will become a country with an aging population by 2035.

The aging process of Vietnam takes place in 23 years (2012-2035), compared to France’s 115 years, Sweden’s 85 years, Australia’s 73 years, the US’s 69 years and Japan’s 26 years.

According to the United Nations, from now to 2050, Vietnam is in a group of 10 countries with the fastest aging population in the world.

According to Power BI, the majority of the elderly live in the northern provinces. Seven of the 10 provinces with the largest population of over 60 years old are in the North. Hanoi has more than one million people over 60 years old, Thanh Hoa over 514,000, Nghe An over 408,000, Thai Binh 347,830. Southern provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai have 841,005 and 278,159 people over 60 years old, respectively.

 Vietnam is the highest among ASEAN countries with more aging women. By 2035 it is expected to be second only to Cambodia. Currently, women make up 58% of the age group of over 60.

Some 67% of people of over 60 years old live in rural areas while more than 73% of the people of over 85 live in the countryside.

According to the General Statistics Office, the number of elderly living alone or with only their spouse increased from 18.3% in 2009 to 27.8% in 2019.

According to Savills, the ratio between the number of medical facilities and the number of people over 60 years old is better in the South. Binh Duong Province has one health facility per 1,647 elderly, while it is 1/1,662 in Can Tho and 1/1,446 in Ba Ria - Vung Tau, the highest rates in the country.

The lowest rates are in Bac Giang with 1/10,596, Nam Dinh 1/8,429 and Hai Phong 1/6,857.

The elderly in Vietnam now prioritize their spending in healthcare. According to a recent study by Cimigo, people over 50 years old spend about 13% of their monthly income on healthcare.

New segment

In Vietnam, the market of nursing homes is still in its infancy. There is only one leading hospital in the country taking care of the elderly - the Central Geriatric Hospital. According to the latest statistics, about 20% of provincial hospitals have geriatric wards, mainly in provinces with large populations. The remaining provinces do not have geriatric wards.

Of the total 63 provinces in the country, only 32 have nursing homes for the elderly. The relevant agencies plan to have at least one nursing home in each province by 2025.

There are a few private nursing homes that provide services for the elderly at a relatively high cost. For example, Thien Duc Nursing Home or Hoa Sen Nursing Center charge about 15 million VND for a single room or 19 million VND for a double room per month.

Some facilities such as Tuan Minh Paradise Resort, which is currently under construction, will be "resorts for the elderly" with 5-star facilities and international standard hospitals. However, most of the private nursing homes are out of reach for most Vietnamese.

Mr. Matthew Powell, Director of Savills Hanoi, said that as demand for nursing homes across the country is growing, there is huge potential for investors, particularly in the North.

Another challenge that causes many difficulties in caring for the elderly is the cost burden. Experts estimate that the cost of health care for an elderly is 8 times higher than for a child. To take care of the elderly, it is necessary to have more detailed studies of this field, in addition to promoting the development of the geriatric system.

Also, it is necessary to change the concept of nursing homes in Vietnam. While the population is aging, communities are changing, and the elderly need comprehensive health care, and the stigma about nursing homes remains. Many people still doubt and oppose the idea of ​​sending their parents to a nursing home.

Duy Anh

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