Community eatery makes seniors' lives easier

Wu Huixin
One of Caixialing's oldest residential communities now has a caféteria that serves freshly prepared dishes to its residents, many of whom are over 60.
Wu Huixin

Senior residents of the Caixialing Residential Community no longer need to cook for themselves, as the community now has a cafeteria serving fresh cuisine.

Caixialing is one of the city's oldest communities, with the majority of residents over the age of 60 – some of them living alone.

To make their lives easier, local government has collaborated with a catering service provider to build a cafeteria, which provides at least 30 dishes during mealtime.

Community eatery makes seniors' lives easier
Ti Gong

Elderly residents come to eat at the community cafeteria, which is a recent government effort to improve the livelihoods of seniors in Caixialing.

The 90-square-meter eatery, which has three chefs and three employees, can seat up to 47 people.

"We provide dishes in small portion. They are freshly fried and served hot," said Wu Songhua, cafeteria manager.

"During the 26 days of soft opening, we adjusted flavors based on suggestions from residents."

Caixialing, which dates back to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279), was located in the heart of old Hangzhou, near the Imperial Ancestral Temple. Today, it exemplifies Hangzhou's aging society.

Community eatery makes seniors' lives easier
Ti Gong

The cafeteria serves meals made with fresh ingredients and prepared with care to provide a quality dining experience for the senior residents.

The community, which was built in the 1990s, has issues such as restricted parking lots, a lack of green space, waterlogging and substandard facilities.

Last year, the community was selected as one of the fifth batches of "Zhejiang Province Future Community" trial sites to improve its green space, parking lots, elevators, pipelines, and healthcare services. It is also the first pilot community in Shangcheng District.

Building a public cafeteria with low-cost food is one step toward revitalizing this historic neighborhood.

"Everyone in the neighborhood supports the cafeteria," said Kong Jiabei, Party secretary of Caixialing Residential Community.

"We will make it a model for other elderly communities and lead Caixialing into a new era with improved services and amenities."

In 2019, Zhejiang government launched the concept of "future community," with the goal of transforming old communities into basic units in order to achieve the goal of "common prosperity." All of the pilot sites will be updated in terms of culture, environment and digital life.

Zhejiang will have around 1,500 "future communities" by 2025, accounting for 30 percent of all.

By 2035, all communities in Zhejiang will have completed the upgrade and be transferred to these new communities.

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