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Community-based Institutions Enlighten China's Elderly Care Services

By Dai Yuan|May 29,2023

Chongqing - China released a set of guidelines for facilitating the building of the basic elderly care system on May 21, aiming to strengthen the basic elderly services system by 2025. 

Elderly residents practice Tai Chi at a community elderly service center in Liangjiang New Area, Chongqing, China. (Photo/Dai Yuan)

Statistics show that, as of 2022, there were over 280 million people aged 60 and above in China, accounting for 19.8% of the country’s population. 

China is addressing population aging by building supportive facilities and enhancing services for the elderly. Currently, there are 381,000 institutions and facilities for the elderly nationwide, including 341,000 community elderly service institutions and facilities.

Community elderly service institutions are significant in China’s elderly service development. Considering convenience and accessibility, elderly residents are particularly fond of community canteens, such as the one at the Cuiyun Elderly Service Center in Chongqing’s Liangjiang New Area. 

Wang Xingfang, a 72-year-old resident who lives nearby, said, “I usually come to the canteen about twice a week, which is so convenient for me. The dishes are tasty and healthy while the price is quite reasonable.”

Li Wenxia, a social worker at the Cuiyun Elderly Service Center, said that the community canteen is open to all residents and is highly favored by the elderly. There are subsidies available for the elderly, with charges capped at a very reasonable rate. 

For example, the elderly above 60 years old will be charged seven yuan (less than one U.S. dollar) per meal, and the elderly aged above 70 will only pay five yuan for a meal, with two yuan subsidized by the government.

Elderly residents have lunch at the Cuiyun community canteen. (Photo/Dai Yuan)

Apart from the community canteen, the Cuiyun Elderly Service Center organizes various activities and classes for the elderly and releases the schedules in advance.

Wang Qianlan, another elderly resident, said, “I come to the community center from Monday to Friday. There are a lot of activities and classes such as dance, art fines, reading, chess, and singing. Sometimes I feel unaccustomed on weekends when I have nowhere to go. I like the environment here, and the community workers are very kind to us.”

The center also leverages digitization to serve elderly residents better. Each resident can apply for a service card with health and family information recorded on it. 

With the card, they can earn bonus points when they attend center activities or classes, which bonus points can be exchanged for gifts or services such as massages and nursing care. Community workers can also access the health and family situations of elderly residents by scanning the cards and offering instant assistance as needed.

In the future, the community plans to bring in some supermarkets and merchants for cooperation to provide further convenience and benefits to the elderly residents.


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