Elderly 'kept in shackles' at home

Elderly 'kept in shackles' at home

Health officials perform Covid-19 tests on elderly people found crammed in an unlicensed elderly care centre in Lat Krabang district, Bangkok, on Wednesday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Health officials perform Covid-19 tests on elderly people found crammed in an unlicensed elderly care centre in Lat Krabang district, Bangkok, on Wednesday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Two unauthorised care facilities in Bangkok, accused of mistreating their elderly residents including putting some in shackles, were raided by authorities and closed on Wednesday.

The elderly residents, some in a poor condition, were rescued from the facilities, one in Lat Krabang district and the other in Nong Chok district. Both centres are owned by the same person.

The raids revealed the poor living conditions of the residents. They were squeezed into tiny rooms in commercial buildings converted into "centres" offering elderly care services at affordable prices, said the officials involved in the raids.

One old man was even found shackled in a room at the Nong Chok facility where he and 20 other elderly people were living. They were taken to a state rest care home on Wednesday, said Pol Col Neti Wongkulab, chief of Consumer Protection Police Division's Sub-Division 4.

Twenty more elderly were rescued from the Lat Krabang facility, a four-storey building where two Thai, two Vietnamese and one Cambodian worker were hired to take care of residents, he said.

The authorities contacted the families and asked them to pick up the residents.

The families said they chose the facilities because they charged lower fees than most other care homes. The elderly whose families could not be reached were placed temporarily in state-run elderly care at Ban Bang Khae 2, said Thanasit Metphanmuang, chief of Lat Krabang district office.

Prior to Wednesday's raids, the authorities were tipped off by a person who visited the Lat Krabang care facility to apply for a job there recently.

The person was shocked to find the condition of the building which was overcrowded with tenants, said Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Department of Health Service Support (DHSS).

Named Di Thuk Wan (every day is good) Care Home, the Lat Krabang facility looked as if it still was under construction, said the doctor, adding that two bed-ridden elderly people were among the 20 rescued from the centre on Wednesday. The care facilities were not licensed to operate and the level of hygiene failed to meet standards, he said.

The owner of the facilities, a woman, also used to run a similar elderly care centre in Chachoengsao. That facility was ordered closed four months ago following the death of a Covid-19 infected elderly resident, said Pol Col Neti.

Police would seek a court warrant for the arrest of the woman if she failed to respond to a police summons, he said.


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