An Amish View On Aging & Elder Care

Here’s a simple article from the Alberta Press giving us a look at the Amish approach to “retirement” and aging. This comes from the Prince Edward Island settlement at Dundas. It largely consists of an interview with James Kuepfer, 35, and his father Peter (as an aside, note Kuepfer is not a common name among the Amish, but it is found in Canada).

The men share a general overview of aging and elder care among the Amish:

As members of the Amish community age, he says, they continue their lives as normal.

“They start to take it easy more,” added Kuepfer.

Men continue to work on the farm, gradually performing lighter tasks. The women press on with their work, quilting for instance, and generally helping out.

Some seniors might start up a small shop, said Kuepfer. Offering services that aren’t too physically demanding or they help their children start up farms and businesses of their own.

If a member ages to a point where they need extra care, the community will provide it and they will seek medical attention if needed.

This type of community support is what Peter Kuepfer, James’s father, saw as his grandfather aged.

“My grandfather’s children took care of him.”

Sometimes outside help will assist, but most care for elderly is provided by those in the community:

Of his grandfather’s 10 children, there was almost always one available to assist him.

Kuepfer said his aunts and women specifically filled the role of caring for his grandfather as he aged.

Care for older people within Kuepfer’s community in Ontario varied. He said some seniors had nurses visit once a week. When an elder needed constant care or assistance, a group within the community would take turns staying with them throughout the day or overnight.

Like their counterparts in the US, these Canadian Amish do not collect a government retirement pension.

Read it in full here (update: article has been removed by source).

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    5 Comments

    1. Susan Griffith

      Amish engineering savy

      have you seen the YouTube video of a Amish buggy hooked up to a jet engine and going 65 miles an hour on a race track? Surely there is Amish out their engineers that they are that could apply there amazing creativity into our environmental sustainability issues.

      1. Is this the one you mean? https://amishamerica.com/jet-powered-thunder-buggy-reaches-60-mph/ Pretty impressive (though the builders aren’t Amish).

    2. J.O.B.

      Aging

      The Amish valuing family and community is extremely helpful when it comes to aging.

      Everyone chips in so that no one person or family is overwhelmed in a difficult time.

      Good quality to have and practice.

    3. Romain Speisser

      Indeed, the name kuepfer, I had never meat it. In Alsace, there is a fairly prolific family called Kupferschmidt (smith who works copper). But with the administration of more than 150 years ago, some names have undergone changes.

    4. Richard Bostrom

      Health care

      Dear Sirs and Ladies!

      When it comes to health care. Are Amish women allowed to visit male doctors for intimate exams?

      Or is this handled by midwifes?

      Thank you.

      Warm regards
      Richard Bostrom