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Shanghai to improve care for its aged

By  Wang Hongyi  (China Daily)

10:25, February 02, 2012

SHANGHAI - The city plans to add 5,000 beds in nursing homes this year to relieve a shortage and about 270,000 elderly people are to benefit from community- based care services.

Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau announced the measures on Wednesday.

"To improve the system of support for the elderly is our main aim. This year, the city will continue to expand the system to cover more elderly people," said bureau director Ma Yili.

In addition, Ma said the city will also build 20 day-care centers and 40 meal centers for elderly people in local communities this year. Family support services will also be provided to 100,000 senior citizens.

In rural areas, the city plans to build or re-model about 300 recreation rooms for the elderly.

One third of Shanghai's population will be aged over 60 by 2020, according to the Shanghai population and family planning commission.

By the end of 2010, the number of nursing home beds had been increased to 100,000. However, it is still far from meeting demand.

"The city ages too fast and there are not enough beds to accommodate the elderly population," said Yu Xinzhong, an office director of the Shanghai No 3 Social Welfare Home, which was founded in 1996. It now has 800 beds.

"We receive applications every day," Yu added. "We have a long waiting list with more than 2,000 people on it for at least half a year.

"But with limited resources and space, we cannot allow every applicant to enter."

The basic operating cost for each bed is about 5,000 yuan ($790) met mostly from government subsidies. Each resident is charged less than 2000 yuan, according to Yu.

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