A student studying in Switzerland observes:
While studying in Switzerland, I rented a house near the school.
The landlady Kristina is a 67-year-old single
old lady who had worked as a teacher in a secondary school before she retired.
Switzerland’s pension is very good, enough to not worry her about food and shelter in her later years.
However, she actually found “work” – to take care of an 87-year-old single old man.
I asked if she was working for money.
Her answer surprised me:
“I do not work for money, but I put my time in the ‘time bank’, and when I cannot move in my old age, I could withdraw it.”
The first time I heard about this concept of “time bank”, I was very
curious and asked the landlady more.
The original “Time Bank” was an old-age pension program developed by the Swiss Federal Ministry of Social Security. People saved the ‘time’ taking care of the elderly when they were younger, and when they were old, ill or needed care could withdraw it.
Applicants must be healthy, good at communicating and full of love. Everyday they have to look after the elderly who need help.
Their service hours will be deposited into the personal ‘time’ accounts of the social security system.
She went to work twice a week, spending two hours each time helping the elderly, shopping, cleaning their room, taking them out to sunbathe, chatting with them.
According to the agreement, after one year of her service, “Time Bank” will calculate her working hours and issue her a “time bank card”.
When she needs someone to take care of her, she can use her “time bank card” to “time to withdraw “time and time interest”. After the information verification, “Time Bank” will assign other volunteers to take care of her at the hospital or her home.
One day, I was in school and the landlady called and said she fell
off the stool when she was wiping the window.
I quickly took leave and sent her to the hospital for treatment.
The landlady broke her ankle and needed to stay in bed for a while.
While I was preparing to apply for a home to take care of her, the landlady told me that I need not worry about her.
She had already submitted a withdrawal request to the “Time Bank”.
Sure enough, in less than two hours “Time Bank” sent a nursing worker to come and care for the landlady.
In the following month, the care worker took care of the landlady everyday, chatted with her and made delicious meals for her.
Under the meticulous care of the carer, the landlady soon recovered her health.
After recovering, the landlady went back to “work”. She said that she intends to save more time in the “time bank” while she is still healthy.
Today, in Switzerland, the use of “time banks” to support old age has become a common practice.
The Swiss government also passed legislation to support the “Time Bank” pension scheme.