Beijing to bridge digital divide for elderly with 52 measures

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Beijing has proposed establishing a joint meeting system to tackle the growing digital divide for the elderly and make sure they are able to share the benefits of a smart society.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform and the Beijing Municipal Health Commission recently issued a joint notice proposing the establishment of a meeting system in Beijing to effectively solve difficulties faced by the elderly when using smart technology.

According to an official from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, as many as 52 specific measures targeted toward helping the elderly will be implemented this year, including simplifying online medical services and providing voice-led guidance.

In November last year, the General Office of the State Council issued a plan specifying measures to help the elderly overcome barriers when using smart technologies while also maintaining traditional services for them.

The plan sets objectives for the 2020-2022 period by focusing on seven types of services and scenarios frequently encountered by the elderly, such as seeking medical treatment, recreational activities, and civic services.

An official from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform explained that in response to the State Council plan, Beijing plans to introduce a total of 162 measures between 2020 and 2022, of which 73 were implemented in 2020. A further 52 measures will be implemented in 2021, and 37 in 2022.

This year's 52 measures include solving problems that are frequently encountered by the elderly relating to seeking medical treatment, shopping, and travel.

In terms of helping to facilitate safety and convenience in the daily lives of the elderly, in 2021, the capital will issue a work plan to punish businesses that refuse to take payments in cash, which is still widely used by the elderly. The work plan will make it clear that retail, catering, shopping malls, parks, and basic public services must not decline cash.

The joint meeting system was established in Beijing to effectively solve an increasing number of difficulties faced by the elderly as banks, hospitals, and the public transport system move more services online.

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