Norway is exporting its elderly and infirm to the Costa Blanca in the hope that the Mediterranean climate will help them live longer -- and that lower costs will save the state money.
In a new twist on care for the elderly, thousands of Norwegians are relaxing in the Spanish sun and taking health cures at a growing number of geriatric and rehabilitation centers run by Norwegian municipalities and staffed almost entirely by Norwegians in the Alicante region.
The trend goes beyond the waves of "health tourists," including many Britons, who fly to Malaga for a cheaper hip replacement or a shorter waiting time than back home.
All the Norwegians have to do is get the approval of their doctors, fill in a few forms and they are eligible for six weeks to a lifetime stay near Benidorm, at the expense of Norwegian tax payers.
"Instead of building a new treatment center in Oslo, local authorities can just build one in southern Spain," said Lotte Tollefsen, a spokeswoman at the Norwegian embassy in Madrid.
"It is easy to find qualified medical personnel and the climate is very beneficial to the patients. Compared to the Norwegian winters, it's a soothing balm," Tolefsen said.
Salaries, land prices and ordinary living expenses are also considerably lower in Alicante than in Norway, one of the most expensive countries in the world. Many doctors and nurses are even willing to accept lower pay in exchange for the chance to work for a year or two in sunny Spain.
The governments of chilly cities such as Oslo or Stavanger have already opened five residences, most of them near the town of L'Alfas del Pi, home to up to 10,000 Norwegians. The largest, Reumasol, operated by a state-subsidised rheumatism association, sees approximately 2,500 patients a year.
The complex includes 44 apartments, 32 hotel rooms, three pools and a miniature golf course. Those who come without a doctor's orders pay 600 euros (US$807) to 1,000 euros for two weeks.
A sixth residence is expected to open in Altea next year and other municipalities are scouting for building sites. The Norwegian government has even opened its own social security office in Alicante.
"I'm sure this is just the start," said Marit Moller Wolfe, director of Fundacion Betanien, a geriatric residence in Alfas del Pi operated by the city of Bergen. "Every month we receive visits from a different delegation of politicians from Norway who want to copy how we do it."
THE ANSWER? The drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system, which the team isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients A Chinese laboratory has been developing a drug it believes has the power to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a halt. A drug being tested by scientists at Peking University could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected, but even offer short-term immunity from the coronavirus, researchers said. Sunney Xie (謝曉亮), director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, said that the drug had been successful in animal testing. “When we injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500,” Xie said. “That means this potential drug has [a]
‘SERIOUS QUESTIONS’: Three US senators sent a letter to the US commerce secretary asking whether the project ‘takes into consideration national security requirements’ US Senator Chuck Schumer and two other Democratic colleagues have written to top US administration officials asking for details of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd’s (TSMC) plan to build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. Hsinchu-based TSMC on Thursday last week announced that it would build a plant to make 5 nanometer chips by 2024 that would have the capacity to produce 20,000 semiconductor wafers per month. The world’s biggest contract chipmaker already has one chipmaking fab in Camas, Washington, and design centers in Austin, Texas, and San Jose, California. It said it planned to start construction in Arizona next year and
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
MOM’S LONG CAMPAIGN: Mao Yin had been brought up in Mianyang, Sichuan Province, without any idea that he was the target of a decades-long, high-profile search A Chinese man who was stolen from his family as a toddler has been reunited with his parents after 32 years. Mao Yin (毛寅), then two-and-a-half years old, was snatched in 1988 when he was walking home from nursery with his father. His parents finally embraced him again on Monday in Xian, where he was born. After Mao vanished, his mother Li Jingzhi (李靜芝) quit her job and launched a decades-long search for her son, that included sending out more than 100,000 flyers and appearing on numerous TV shows. That long campaign helped 29 other families find their own missing children and made