'Elderly care time bank' scheme to be promoted citywide

Hu Min
After a successful trial in eight districts, Shanghai's civil affairs authorities said they will expand its "elderly care time bank" scheme citywide.
Hu Min
'Elderly care time bank' scheme to be promoted citywide
Sun Dan

Some "time partners" were honored for their efforts on Monday.

Shanghai's civil affairs authorities said on Monday that they will promote its "elderly care time bank" system citywide after a successful trial in eight districts.

The initiative invites inhabitants, especially the younger elderly, to provide free senior care to the city's elderly and earn "free service hours" when needed.

The scheme converts service hours into "time currency" and "deposits" them into personal accounts. The service supplier is a "time partner."

"The service now covers nine sectors such as emotional comfort, companionship, recreational activities, health education, legal assistance, and other personalized and tailoring services," said Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau deputy head of senior care service Ge Jian.

Since the trial began more than three years ago, the city has registered 10,420 "time partners" who have served 129,176 hours, helping 15,851 older residents, according to the bureau.

Among these "time partners," over 60 percent are younger seniors aged 50–69, and 11 percent are under 50.

'Elderly care time bank' scheme to be promoted citywide
Sun Dan

Two "time partners" share their stories

The bureau suggests transferring "time currency" to relatives of "time partners" who match service subject criteria or donating it to senior citizens in need.

Hongkou, Changning, Xuhui, Putuo, Yangpu, Jing'an, Chongming and Pudong New Area are testing the scheme.

"We encourage more younger seniors to actively get involved in the program and will promote the program citywide gradually," Ge said.

"We will further improve the service items based on the demand of elderly citizens and will make the redemption of 'time currency' more convenient," Ge said.

Over the past four years, Li Weibao, 71, has been a "time partner". He teaches taichi and baduanjin, an eight-sectioned Chinese workout, and qigong in a Hongkou District senior home.

His initiatives have included over 100 elderly people, the oldest at 94.

"I want to do what I can to serve our elderly citizens, and it's a really good practical deed of government authorities, as we can enjoy the service in the future when we turn older," Li added.

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