Beijing delivers elder care to doorstep

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 4, 2018
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In the past few years, Beijing has improved its elder care services in various ways and delivered them right to the doorstep. Its newly constructed four-layer service system is helping to care for more than 3 million senior citizens. Retirement homes can now be found within every kilometer, and senior care centers every 3 kilometers.

The retirement home of Sanlitun Community is quietly located within the bustling neighborhood in Chaoyang district. Formally a hotpot restaurant, the home was founded in 2014 as the first of its kind in Beijing. "We try to provide everything that the older citizens require," said Ding Lijuan, a person in charge at the retirement home. "Some aged people ask us if they can stay here temporarily or dine here, and the answer is without a doubt yes."

The retirement home has gradually become a well-recognized place, now serving approximately 14,000 senior citizens in the neighboring seven residential communities of Sanlitun subdistrict. They include almost 4,000 who are more than 80 years old, and more than 400 are disabled elders. The home provides multiple types of services: daycare, call center, assisted dining, assisted showering, assisted medical treatment, health guidance, cultural entertainment, psychological consultation, nighttime chaperonage, etc. Since the establishment of this retirement home, 380 similar ones have been established across the city.

At the beginning of China's reform and opening up, the government was responsible for taking care of its older citizens through comprehensive measures. Now with China entering a new era of development, Beijing is putting more efforts into top-level design focusing on "properly looking after every elderly person."

Beijing implemented its "Regulations on Home-based Elderly Care Services in Beijing" on May 1, 2015. Since then, the capital has constructed a service system that is "trilateral and four-layered," and realized the goal of giving all older citizens access to at-home care services within their neighboring areas. In addition, the city established a welfare system for seniors, providing subsidy for elderly care services, allowances for those of advanced age, and free bus fares.

Meanwhile, Beijing's pension fund has increased from 510 million yuan (US$74.3 million) in 2012 to 1.2 billion yuan at present. The city also built 252 elderly care centers, carried out more than 1,000 projects on at-home elderly care services annually, and built and operated 380 retirement homes for residential communities in the past two years, of which 140 are in rural areas. Beijing also put into operation 506 nursing institutions and 103,000 nursing home beds, and developed 15,000 service units covering nine categories. Government departments overseeing civil affairs, healthcare, human resources, and social security are also constantly promoting the integration of medical and elderly care, optimizing the establishment of medical institutions, examining and approving designated medical insurance qualifications, and promoting policy-oriented long-term care insurance.

There is also an increasing number of preferential treatment services available to the elderly. Recently, a new revision of the "Regulations on the Administration of the Beijing Pass Card" was officially released. Starting next year, people from 60 to 64 years of age with the Beijing Pass card will be able to enjoy preferential treatment policies such as taking the bus and visiting parks for free. A person in charge of the Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau said that, since the full launch of the Beijing Pass card on Jan. 1, 2017, more than 2.8 million cards have been issued to citizens that are more than 65 years old. Among the sum, 2.54 million cards are valid, 2.18 million belong to citizens with household registrations in Beijing, and 360,000 belong to permanent residents from outside the city. During the last month of 2018, more than 1.1 million people between the ages of 60 and 64 will receive the Beijing Pass cards, and the total amount of card issuance is expected to surpass 3.9 million by the end of the year.

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