Care facilities for Germans in Thailand and Poland: making old age care abroad legitimate

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Désirée Bender
Cornelia Schweppe


This article looks at old age care facilities abroad that target people who live in Germany. Such facilities have been established in Southeast Asia (mainly Thailand) and in Eastern Europe (mainly Poland). Given that they challenge central guiding orientations for old age care in Germany, considerable criticisms are levelled at them, and their use is viewed with distinct scepticism. Nevertheless, some of these facilities succeed in sustaining considerable demand from Germany over quite a few years. In this article, we therefore ask what strategies and arguments they use to make them a legitimate option for people in Germany and to be established on the German market. Based on two case studies of an old age facility in Thailand
and Poland, we will show how they skilfully position themselves as “better” options for residential care even though their strategies considerably vary and result in very different models of old age care. Drawing on neo-institutional organisation theories, we will show how these strategies are essential for the facilities’ emergence as new players in the care market for older people from Germany.


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