More 'caring' system required to take care of aging population

Wan Tingting
Shanghai should strive to establish a caring system in the community, families and various hospitals for patients and the elderly.
Wan Tingting

Shanghai should strive to establish a caring system in the community, families, and various hospitals for those who are discharged from care, as well as looking after the elderly who need regular and long-term care, experts said at a recent health seminar.

The system should serve patients who need rehabilitation and health care in community hospitals, especially the elderly who need long-term care in community hospitals or in their homes, as well as services for those staying at nursing homes.

A professional hospital transfer and community-based service network should be established to meet the large demands of patients and the rising number of elderly people in the city, experts told the Healthy China Integrated Care Summit.

Shanghai is the first city to become an aging society in China because it has the most rapidly aging population. 

Healthy aging is an important category for building the city into a "healthy city," said Fu Hua from the School of Public Health of Fudan University. “For the elderly, ‘living longer’ does not mean ‘living better.' The focus of healthy aging has shifted from the duration of life to the quality of life.”

WHO indicated that healthy aging is “the process of developing and maintaining functional ability that enables well-being in older age”. Functional abilities require intrinsic capacity, like talking, moving, study and building relationships, but also the environment, including social services and policies.

However for many elderly Chinese, retirement is often filled with feelings of loneliness and separation. Some are obsessed with TV shows without any social or family interaction. A lack of integrated care and service systems is the major reason, officials said.

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