Delta elder care training improves

A new platform for the Yangtze River Delta Region will share resources and cultivate talent for the aged care industry.

A platform was established on Saturday at Shanghai Open University for the Yangtze River Delta Region to share resources and cultivate talent for the aged care industry.

There are more than 44 million people aged 60 or above in Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, over 20 percent of local population. Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences has predicted that the regional aging population will reach 33 percent by 2035.

The platform will set up education programs and training bases to train staff and discuss problems faced by the industry. It will also assist in policy making.

Zhao Lijuan, director of city programs for the elderly, said that nursing staff are often considered poorly educated, unprofessional, lowly paid and held in little esteem. As the elderly themselves and their children have high expectations, better training for caregivers is essential, through courses developed by Shanghai Open University.

Two years ago, its Civil Affairs College launched a junior college diploma in elderly care and management. One of the first students was Huang Mancheng, who has been taking care of elderly people for more than 20 years.

“Before that, even directors of local nursing homes lacked systematic training,” he said. “Both managers and caregivers need improvements.”

In the past two years, they learned a lot, including basic psychology, geriatric sociology and management skills. More than 800 are taking courses and 280 will graduate in next spring.

“In the past two years, students have been well trained,” said Yuan Wen, president of the university. “Our training is closely linked with vocational qualifications and graduates will get either national or industrial qualifications on graduation.” 

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