Solid senior care network in place as Shanghai marks Chongyang Festival
Shanghai has been weaving a solid senior care network for one of its most vulnerable groups with some of this year's targets already hit ahead of schedule, the city's civil affairs bureau said on Monday.
Monday marks the annual Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival, a day dedicated to the elderly.
The city had added 5,011 beds at its senior care facilities by the end of September, compared with the all-year target of 5,000, and another 2,162 beds had been renovated in line with the demand of elderly citizens with cognitive disorder, also fulfilling the target, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
The city had made 400 new community-based canteens serving elderly residents as this year's target, which has been achieved as well.
Shanghai has more than 1,600 facilities catering to the meal demand of seniors and they have a combined supply capacity of 160,000 meals daily.
Some canteens have been taking an intelligent approach to provide diversified meal options and a cozy and convenient environment for diners.
At a canteen on Fangbang Rd M. in Huangpu District, a slew of smart cooking equipments such as stir-fry cooking machines and steaming ovens have been put into operation to cater to seniors' diversified flavor demands and big data analysis has been applied based on their feedback to make efficient recipe adjustments.
At the canteen, even Nanxiang xiaolong (steamed buns), a famous Shanghai delicacy, is served.
Under facial recognition systems, seniors can make payment via "face scan" at a canteen of Dongming Road subdistrict in the Pudong New Area.
Meal plates embedded with microchips enable one-click transactions, and e-labels for dishes show indexes such as fat and cholesterol. The canteen has a capacity of accommodating 80 diners.
Each dish is attached to an electronic label that shows both its price and nutrients, such as calories, sodium, protein and vitamin C.
In fact, such canteens are more than meal venues as they also provide a place for the elderly to get rid of their loneliness.
A canteen in the Caohejing area of Minhang District is frequented by some elderly diners, who left their hometowns to move to a new city with their children who worked here.
Granny Zhou, 72, a native of Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, moved to Shanghai following her daughter several years ago and lives alone.
She is a frequent visitor to the canteen.
"I noticed that she often sat alone along the window, looking outside," said Lu Xiaofeng, head of the canteen.
"Can we do something for them? The question struck my mind at that moment," he recalled.
As part of the efforts, the canteen is being renovated to turn the second floor into a stage.
"In the future, we will invite seniors to watch and participate in some performances like shuoshu (story telling), music instrument playing and singing based on their interest," Lu stated.
"We hope these canteens can eliminate the loneliness of elderly residents, enrich their retirement life and become a warm place just like their homes," said Lu.
"I settled in Shanghai following my daughter and it's not easy to make new friends in a new place," noted Zhou. "The canteen staff are very friendly and helpful."
"I like watching performances and getting involved will be a pleasant thing."
Shanghai also has 30 smart senior homes, featuring intelligent nursing, medical care and canteen services, as well as smart operation and management.
Intelligent senior homes are listed as one of this year's social development goals of the city.
These senior homes are covered by 5G signal, and electronic versions of health files of elderly citizens will be kept.
Smart catering services with dietary nutrition management and food tracking systems are highlights of these senior homes, satisfying the diversified and personalized catering needs of senior citizens.
Shanghai's elderly population grew more than 114,000, or 2.1 percent, in 2022 from a year earlier, accounting for more than 36 percent of permanent residents.