Residents try out rehab devices for rent

Hu Min
The elderly, the disabled and the sick are set to benefit from a city scheme to offer rehabilitation devices for rent rather than having to make an expensive purchase.
Hu Min
Residents try out rehab devices for rent
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A visitor tries out a bed at the Wanli subdistrict comprehensive senior service center in Putuo District.

Devices that can help elderly, disabled or sick people and that are available to rent were demonstrated in a trial in 70 subdistricts and towns across the city on Tuesday.

On the rental list are 45 types of devices. These include orthopedic equipment, furniture, nursing beds, walking aids, wheelchairs, oxygen generators and limb rehabilitation training equipment, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.

The list will be adjusted based on the trial and expanded significantly next year, it said.

Most of the 70 rental spots are in community-based senior service centers, with others at senior homes or assistive device service centers for the disabled, the bureau said.

The Yuyuan, Bansongyuan Road, Dapuqiao subdistricts in Huangpu District, Hongqiao and Huayang subdistricts in Changning District, and Jiangning Road and Daning Road subdistricts in Jing'an District were among those taking part in the trial. 

The community-based rental service network will cover all subdistricts and towns in Shanghai by the end of 2021, the bureau said.

Residents try out rehab devices for rent
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The working of the devices available to rent is explained to visitors at the Wanli center.

Residents try out rehab devices for rent
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A man has a knee protector fitted at the Wanli center.

"The aim of the trial is to satisfy the diversified demand of the elderly, disabled and sick people in the city," said Sun Xiaohong, director of the bureau’s disabled welfare department.

By the end of last year, Shanghai's senior population had reached 5.03 million, or 34.4 percent of the city’s permanent residents. Among them, 817,000 were 80 or older, accounting for 16.2 percent of the senior population.

The city also had 549,200 disabled people at that time, with 64 percent of them older than 60.

The increase in the numbers of older people has led to a rising demand on rehabilitation services from the elderly and disabled, said Sun.

"There is a short supply of senior care beds in Shanghai and many seniors tend to stay at their homes rather than senior homes, calling on rehabilitation assistive devices," she said.

"As seniors' body functions decline, rehabilitation assistive devices can help prolong their self-care time," she said.

"Rental is a good option because they need to upgrade rehabilitation assistive devices regularly due to aging, and devices occupy a large space at home once they are no longer used," she said.

Residents try out rehab devices for rent
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A woman smiles as she tries out  a walking aid at the Wanli center.

Local people aged between 60 and 74 on subsistence allowance or on a low income, and seniors agrd 75 or older are entitled to a subsidy of 3,000 yuan (US$426) per year to rent devices, the bureau said. 

Device suppliers will deliver them to users and instruct them on their use. 

One of the rental spots is the Wanli Subdistrict comprehensive senior service center in Putuo District which provides day care services for seniors with dementia and physical disabilities.

Yao, an 80-year-old woman, tried a wheelchair at the center on Tuesday.

"I live alone, and my legs are not good due to bone nerve injury, making it inconvenient for me to walk out, even to the nearby wet market," she said. 

"The market price of a wheel chair is 7,000 yuan, which is too expensive for me," she said. The rental price is 600 yuan for six months with subsidy offered and deposit included.

"Rental is a very good option," she said. "I am also considering the intelligent mattress due to my blood and heart problems."

Tang Jin, 88, was also interested in the wheelchair.

"Although my wife and I can take care of ourselves, our legs stumble with aging, requiring a wheelchair," he said.

Residents try out rehab devices for rent
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A man and woman experience what a difference using a wheelchair could make to their lives. 

Shanghai is among the first cities in China to conduct the trial and authorities are planning to collect data on renters, their ages and the devices most in demand during the trial. 

They will then decide whether to include the rental subsidy in the city's long-term nursing insurance and commercial insurance schemes.

There are more than 600 types of rehabilitation assistive devices in China based on a list released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The industry is an emerging one, and the ministry, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and China Disabled Persons' Federation released a notification on conducting the trial of rehabilitation assistive device rental at residential communities late last year.

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