Using technology to help seniors enjoy their golden years
The Xinhua Subdistrict in Changning District is taking a smart and digital approach to help seniors enjoy their golden years in a pleasant, safe and convenient environment.
A digital and smart senior-care experience center, the first of its kind in Shanghai, went into operation in the subdistrict today.
The four-floor center covering more than 2,000 square meters combines 12 application scenes of smart senior-care services at both physical and psychological levels.
The subdistrict has more than 23,000 senior citizens, accounting for 36.9 percent of its total permanent residents.
Via facial-recognition systems, residents don't need to show their health QR code, which is recorded when they enter the center.
The elevators in the center can be operated via voice instruction to avoid contact.
Meal plates embedded with microchips enable one-click transactions at the canteen inside the center, and seniors pay for their meals through facial-recognition software.
They can even order meals cooked by robots.
"Upon entering the center, seniors will experience a convenient, easy, pleasant and safe life everywhere thanks to digitization," said Zhang Wei, Party secretary of Xinhua Subdistrict.
They can take advantage of remote medical treatment services, and relevant reports are sent to their mobile phones.
In living areas, television sets and curtains can be closed and lights switched off via simple voice instructions.
Via facial-recognition monitoring systems, the center prevents seniors with cognitive disorders from getting lost. A health-testing machine screens residents for early signs of cognitive disorders, with community-based prevention and professional intervention solutions provided.
In areas such as toilets, systems ensuring seniors' safety have been installed that can alert staffers in case of emergencies via automatic induction of a Wi-Fi wave.
The center's operation relies on advanced technologies such as digital twin, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, said Zhang.
The center provides "respite" short-term senior-care services to the needy.
The digital approach has been expanded beyond the center to seniors in the subdistrict.
A WeChat mini program allows seniors to check activity arrangements and make reservations for community services – such as meal services – with simple clicks on their phones. An e-map's navigational function shows them how to get where they need to go.
These activities cover a wide range of areas such as bakeries, tai chi and film.
"It helps seniors enrich their lives and eliminate their sense of loneliness," said Zhang.
Seniors are also able to make medical appointments, reserve taxi services and obtain emergency rescue services via a WeChat mini program developed by the subdistrict.
A smart senior-care platform developed by the subdistrict integrates all data related to seniors, providing officials with accurate matching to the requirements of elderly residents and offering efficient and accurate services to them.
About 20 classes have been organized to help seniors in the subdistrict grasp the use of smart applications, benefiting about 600 of them so far.
A futuristic senior-care community with a digital and human-oriented approach is taking shape, said Zhang.
The aim is to establish a digitally empowered senior-care circle in the subdistrict to help elderly citizens enjoy a happy life and enhance their sense of fulfillment, she added.
The center was renovated from the subdistrict's former comprehensive senior-care service center.
Grandpa Pang, 74, has visited the center almost every day since 2019.
"The voice control system in rooms is really convenient since there is no need to use remote control, which may break down in plum rain season," he said. "I have made a lot of friends here and attended a lot of activities, which enrich my retirement life."
"I have gained two kilograms since I moved here a month ago," said another resident surnamed Zhou, 76.
Zhou strained her waist, which is when she decided to move to the center.
"I am very happy here with a lot of old friends and activities," she said.