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Shanghai to Build up 1st Seniors' Community
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Construction will begin in Nanhui District next week on the country's first residential community specially designed for senior residents.

When Qinheyuan Community opens in October next year, it will feature 12 apartment buildings reserved for seniors.

At the end of 2005, downtown Shanghai was home to more than 2.66 million people over 60 years, which accounts for about 20 percent of downtown residents, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

While most elderly people in Shanghai live with their children, a growing number is living on their own, creating a need for more retirement and nursing homes.

Based on the experience of developed countries, Shanghai Newgench Enterprise Group Co Ltd invested 300 million yuan (US$37 million) building the first seniors' community in China with cooperation of the local government.

Apartments in the community are not for sale, instead they will only be leased out to men over the age of 60 or women over the age of 55.

The community houses 12 buildings containing 910 apartments, and many facilities for seniors such as health care. The community should have enough space for 1,600 residents. The average monthly rent for an apartment in the community is expected to be around 3,000 yuan.

"All the equipment in our community was set up for elderly people," said Newgench's Assistant General Manager Jing Ruikai.

Alarm bells and infrared monitors will also be installed in all the rooms and corridors of the community in case of any emergencies.

"In the future, the community could even be a motel for elderly visitors to Shanghai," said Jing. "They will be offered the best health care here."

Construction on the project will begin next Wednesday.

"With the fast-growing number of aged people in Shanghai, new and more effective method of taking care of them is in urgent need," said Wang Zhengling, an official with the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

"A community for seniors is a good idea," he said.

(Shanghai Daily April 14, 2006)

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