City's elderly service network to be more senior-oriented

Hu Min
The city is creating a complete senior-oriented elderly service network, amid the growing aging trend and demand for efficient, convenient and equitable senior-care services.
Hu Min

The city is creating a comprehensive senior-oriented elderly service network, amid the growing aging trend and increasing demand for efficient, convenient and equitable senior-care services, a main topic of discussion at today's Shanghai International Elderly Service Industry Summit 2021.

Themed the "New Development of the Elderly Service Industry," the summit was hosted by the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau and Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai. 

A senior city civil affairs official mapped out Shanghai's senior-care development and future plans during the summit. 

By the end of last year, the city had registered 729 senior homes with about 161,000 beds. 

"They relieved the pressure resulting from a shortage of senior-care beds and catered to seniors' nursing demand," said Zhu Qinhao, director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. 

At the end of 2020, the city had 320 community-based, comprehensive senior service centers, and 204 community-based nursing homes for the elderly providing short-term respite care services.

It also had 758 daycare nursing homes that provided services to 15,000 people every month, 6,223 activity centers and 1,232 community-based canteens for the elderly that served about 120,000 people on a monthly basis. 

The city has 78 subdistricts and towns participating in a trial of friendly communities for seniors with cognitive disorders launched in 2019. Risk evaluation and early intervention are conducted in these locations, which have also introduced non-medical interventions such as brain-activation activities, music and art therapies based on seniors' cognitive-disorder level and habits.

A total of 4,845 beds at senior homes include nursing functions for this group. 

The city has distributed subsidies totaling 25.7 billion yuan (US$4 billion) to 4.27 million needy seniors since 2016.

Last year, 417,000 seniors participated in the city's long-term nursing insurance program, 8 percent of the city's registered senior population. 

In 2018, Shanghai began a trial of a senior-care adviser system at 68 residential communities.

Advisers provide consultation on the services available, senior-care programs and policies, long-term nursing insurance and subsidies for the elderly. They offer useful information, recommend the best services to match seniors' needs and help them gain familiarity with the senior-care resources available.

The service has been expanded to nearly 5,300 sites across the city, and has more than 8,100 advisers, according to Zhu. 

Shanghai has inked senior-care-service cooperation agreements with 26 cities, counties and districts in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Under the agreements, 57 senior-care service agencies in the region are offering "cross-city" services for senior citizens, as another 25,000 beds will be earmarked to accommodate seniors in the region this year.

"The city will provide high-quality senior care services to the elderly population and satisfy diversified demand," said Zhu. "The priority is those with physical disabilities, cognitive disorders, and financial difficulties."

"We will focus on services covering long-term nursing, medical treatments and the health requirements of seniors with physical disabilities," Zhu added. "The promotion of relevant information in communities and early intervention will be enhanced for those suffering from cognitive disorders. The wellbeing of seniors is the priority in the development of smart senior-care technologies, which should be senior-oriented."

The city has about 68,000 nurses working in the senior-care industry. Trainings are conducted to improve their professional skills, and efforts are made to increase their salaries, said Zhu. 

The city is establishing a credibility system covering staff in the senior-care industry. Risk management and control covering nursing, food and fire safety involved in senior-care services will be enhanced to eliminate potential hazards. 

"The aim is to help seniors in the city enjoy a good quality of life, with a sense of fulfilment, happiness and safety," said Zhu.

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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