City stepping up services for growing senior population

Hu Min
Shanghai's civil affairs authorities are creating a senior-friendly environment for the city's elderly, with new senior service centers, canteens and accommodations.
Hu Min

Shanghai's civil affairs authorities are creating a senior-friendly environment for the city's elderly, a senior official said in a radio interview today.

There will be 50 new, community-based, comprehensive senior service centers providing meals and nursing services for seniors in the city this year, as well as 200 community-based canteens.

"Community-based canteens for the elderly are a priority, and the goal is that every subdistrict and town in the city will have these type of canteens with the ability to supply at least 150 meals daily," said Zhu Qinhao, director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. "A number of canteens featuring intelligent services such as digital payments, radio frequency identification service plates and smart meal ordering will be established."

Between 2016 and 2020, the number of beds at senior homes across the city grew from 126,000 to 161,000, and the city currently has 320 community-based, comprehensive senior service centers.

Shanghai also has 240 community-based senior homes providing "respite services," ranging from three to six months for those who need short-term nursing services — such as people who have had surgeries and who have no family members with them for some time.

There are another 758 daycare nursing centers and 1,232 canteens for the elderly at communities in the city, serving about 120,000 seniors daily.

The 15-minute senior care service circles where elderly poeple have access to services such as meals, nursing and health care within a 15-minute walk of where they live are being established in the city.

"It will enable seniors to enjoy a range of services in a familiar environment," said Zhu.

This year, the city will add 5,000 beds at senior homes and renovate another 2,000 for seniors with cognitive disorders.

Also this year, 5,000 households will have their living environments renovated to make them more senior-friendly and barrier-free.

So far, about 6,000 households in the city have received government-backed services, with priority given to seniors without children and those with financial difficulties, dementia or physical disabilities.

The city has also launched a program to help 1 million seniors learn about smart technologies every year, an effort to overcome the "digital barrier" confronting many of them.

Trainings and classes are being held in conjunction with companies, social organizations and volunteers to help seniors learn to use smartphones for things like taking transportation, making payments, shopping, chatting and medical treatments.

At the end of 2020, Shanghai's population aged 60 and above reached 5.33 million, or 36.1 percent of permanent residents, up 3 percent from 2019. Among them, 825,300 were 80 or older and 3,000 were centenarians.

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