Advisers recommend more support for seniors with cognitive disorders

Hu Min
A legislative proposal calls for including cognitive disorders in the city's community chronic disease prevention and treatment services.
Hu Min

A proposal filed to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's (CPPCC) Shanghai Committee suggests a community-based early screening and intervention system for seniors with cognitive disorders.

Seniors with cognitive disorders are not known by neighborhood committees, even though many of them are in the middle to late stages of cognitive disorder and miss the best time for intervention, according to the proposal filed by local advisers Jin Ying and Fang Yue.

Community health service centers are unable to treat cognitive disorders, and many elderly patients do not receive medical support when they are living in communities. There is also a shortage of beds at senior homes for this group, and some nursing homes even refuse to accept elderly with cognitive disorders, worsening the situation, the proposal said.

The proposal called on including cognitive disorders in the city's community chronic disease prevention and treatment services.

Doctors are advised to promote relevant knowledge in communities and the screening of cognitive disorder is advised to be included in free physical examinations of seniors in the city.

A tracking system should be established at communities for patients returning from hospitals, according to the proposal.

Professional training should be provided to families of seniors with cognitive disorder for better care; and a communication mechanism among hospitals, communities and nursing homes should be set up, the proposal called.

An estimated 200,000 seniors in the city suffer from some sort of cognitive disorder, and the number is rising, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

The good news is that Shanghai has begun trials of “friendly communities” for seniors with cognitive disorder.

Subdistricts of Huangpu, Jing'an and Pudong were among the first to take part, according to the bureau.

"Care for seniors with cognitive disorders is a new challenge and it is important to create friendly communities for them," said Jiang Rui, deputy director of the bureau.

Participating communities will provide risk evaluation and early intervention into nursing care. They will also provide psychological counseling and respite services for families.

By the end of 2018, Shanghai's senior population had surged to about 5 million, or about a third of permanent residents. Among them, 817,000 were 80 years or older.

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