Aging population spawns slew of new occupations

Hu Min
With the aging population on the rise in Shanghai, a number of new occupations have emerged amid the growing market demand, such as escorts to take seniors up and down the stairs.
Hu Min
Aging population spawns slew of new occupations
Ti Gong

Grandpa Diao gets a smooth ride from the doorway to outside.

With the aging population on the rise in Shanghai, a number of new occupations have emerged amid the growing market demand.

"Grandpa, please sit properly, we are ready to go downstairs." Amid the clicking sound of a wheelchair stairclimber, grandpa Diao, in his 80s, who lives in Wuliqiao subdistrict of Huangpu District, enjoyed a smooth ride downstairs.

It was extremely tough for Diao, suffering from cerebral infarction and cognitive disorder, to go out as there is no elevator in his old residential building.

Grandma Gao, Diao's wife, needed to ask others to help take him downstairs every time they went out. Diao said he did not feel comfortable during the trip.

It all changed after a range of new services from assisting elderly residents' upstairs and downstairs movement to traffic and medical treatment assistance was launched in the subdistrict recently.

"We only need to make a call one day in advance and wait at the designated time for them," said Gao, referring to one of the new occupations – people who "escort" elderly residents outside.

Aging population spawns slew of new occupations

A medical treatment assistant for elderly residents at a hospital.

These assistants carry wheelchair stairclimbers to needy seniors' homes, and transfer them onto the seats. After seniors are downstairs, they move them onto wheelchairs and then barrier-free vehicles. They take them back after the trip ends.

At hospitals, they also help elderly residents handle registration, payment, and take medical reports and medicine for them, another new occupation related to senior care.

"I feel at ease thanks to the service, which provides a big comfort for me," Gao pointed out.

Bath assistants, appraisers of seniors' health condition and care demand, and nursing care workers are also new jobs, satisfying the diversified senior care demand of the city's elderly residents.

Grandma Li, 91, who lives in the Shimen No. 2 Road subdistrict of Jing'an District, requires medicine dispensing, management, and health examination assistance due to her diabetes, high blood pressure and cognitive disorder.

Relying on the community-based senior care home of the subdistrict, she receives health assessment and now has her own health service file set up.

Based on her health assessment, a tailored service plan has been worked out, covering bath assistance, and nursing care, including blood pressure and blood glucose test every week, while help and guidance is delivered to Li in terms of medicine distribution, intake and management.

A one-stop service merging all these occupations is being trialled by Fuyuan Aging Care Service Co in a number of subdistricts across the city, catering to seniors' demands flexibly.

Shanghai is among the most aging cities in the nation in terms of its elderly population.

The city's elderly population grew more than 87,000, or 1.6 percent, in 2021 from a year earlier, accounting for more than 36 percent of permanent residents.

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