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Shanghai builds up elder care networks

By Xing Yi and Hu Xiaoyu in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-07-17 22:00

Lu Jinping is a resident in Hongyi neighborhood in Shanghai. Every day when her son and daughter goes to work, Lu goes to the nearby Hongqiao Comprehensive Elder Care Center.

"The center has many lectures on how we seniors should take care of our health," the 71-year-old said. "They also organize many activities for us. There are rooms for reading, dancing and singing in the center. I can also buy medicine here."

The 3,000-square meter center integrates services such as daycare, catering, rehabilitation, assistant equipment rental and medical consultancy.

"I think the center makes our life more enjoyable and convenient," Lu said.

In 2019, the city had 5.18 million people aged 60 or above, accounting for 35.2 percent of its total population.

As one of the first cities in China to enter an "aging society", Shanghai has been accelerating construction of elder care facilities reachable within 15 minutes.

Jiang Rui, deputy director of the municipal civil affairs bureau, said the city has prioritized expanding senior care capacity in its government tasks since 1998.

"As of 2019, the city has a total of 151,000 beds for elder care, assuaging the sharp demand of the people," Jiang said.

"Elderly people don't want to leave the communities where they live, so since 2014 we have been building elder care centers embedded in residential neighborhoods," she added.

Such centers include 268 big comprehensive centers like the one in Hongqiao subdistrict, 187 smaller short-term daycares and 1,020 senior dining halls, as well as 6,150 senior activity centers.

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