Platform to bring elder care search right to your fingertips

Hu Min
With over one-third of local residents aged 60 or over, authorities are searching for new ways, such as website, to care for aging population.
Hu Min

An online senior care platform covering Shanghai will be launched in May, allowing residents to explore care homes and policies with just a few clicks, the city's civil affairs authorities said on Monday.

The platform will include a map of senior care centers, as well as search functionality and information about senior-care policies, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

Users of the platform can also obtain senior-care guidance and advice based on their health and financial needs using an "intelligent" self-inquiry system, said Zhu Qinhao, director of the bureau.

Information on senior care services by other government authorities will also be released on the platform, with updates published monthly, said Zhu.

"Residents will be able to find information on beds in senior care homes across the city on the platform, and we want to make the search for senior care resources as convenient as shopping on Taobao," said Zhu.

"The platform is open and transparent, and also ensures convenience and fairness in the allocation of senior care resources," he added.

Shanghai will add 7,000 beds at senior care homes this year, while another 1,000 beds will be converted for seniors with dementia.

There are nearly 5 million people aged 60 or above in Shanghai, accounting for over one-third of all permanent residents, and posing big challenges for the senior care system, said Zhu.

Authorities are developing community-based senior service centers at residential complexes to help confront the challenge, said Zhu.

The aim is to create a senior care "service circle" which will allow the elderly to enjoy meals, day care or medical treatment services within 15 minutes from their homes in downtown districts, the bureau said.

Shanghai has built 155 small community-based senior homes and another 180 comprehensive senior service centers at communities by the end of last year.

Every sub-district in Shanghai will have a comprehensive community-based senior service center by the end of this year, according to a planning blueprint.

A guideline on community-based senior care services will be released and tested soon, and seniors with disabilities and dementia and those living alone will get priority, said Zhu.

About 200,000 seniors in the city suffer from dementia, and there is an urgent call for services which address their needs, said Zhu.

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