Open Access. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. Published online 10 August 2021.
Bouke de Vries
Abstract: Many higher-income countries are struggling to make decent and affordable care available to their older populations. In response, some Germans are sending their ageing relatives to relatively high-end care homes within Eastern Europe and South-East Asia where the care tends to be more comprehensive and a lot cheaper. At the same time, this practice has caused much controversy within Germany, with some commentators calling it “inhumane” and “shameful.” The aim of this article is to show that such criticisms are exaggerated. Whereas sending people to care homes in lower-income countries can be immoral, I argue that the most promising objections against it do not always apply and, to the extent that they do, do not always provide decisive reasons against sending people abroad. These objections maintain that such expatriations harm three different groups of individuals, namely the emigrants themselves; their friends and relatives; and vulnerable members of the receiving societies.
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