Central China’s Henan province explores new method of elderly care

Medical stuffs guide seniors to rehabilitate on professional equipment at a care center in Boxing county, east China's Shandong province, Sept. 3, 2020. (Photo by Chen Bin/People's Daily Online)

Taikang county in central China’s Henan province has established a rural eldercare system that combines the efforts of family, neighbors, village and social forces. The new system has provided meticulous care for nearly 10,000 seniors in extreme poverty.

The system came into being in 2018, after the county found that most of the seniors living in extreme poverty were not supported in a centralized manner, and the facilities of nursing centers were obsolete. The county decided to upgrade nursing centers, so as to provide better places for the seniors in need. So far, 19 nursing centers have been renovated or built in the county, all of which are equipped with air conditioners, heating facilities, canteens and entertainment rooms.

Xu Xiushen, 75, and Liu Zhenyu, 68, were two seniors living in a nursing home of the county.  “The food and accommodation here are great, and we can also perform local operas here,” , said Xu, after getting off a stage where he and Liu had just finished a Chinese opera performance.

The 69-year-old Liu Hewang, from Pangzhuang village, Dutang township of Taikang, suffers from hemiplegia. After Taikang county established the new eldercare system, he was invited to a nursing house to “experience” the life there. In the beginning, he was reluctant to do this, but now the man is totally attracted, saying the life there is fantastic.

Taikang county also encouraged privately-run hospitals and township health centers to build nursing centers. Yiyang Home, is one of the nursing centers established by a local hospital.

“We had concerns in the beginning, as we were afraid that we might not do it well because of the lack of experience,” said Peng Hongwei, who’s in charge of the Yiyang Home. Now the nursing center has developed its own management system, which enables the caregivers to work more efficiently and offers a better environment for the seniors living there.

At present, a total of 27 hospitals are running nursing homes in Taikang county, including 5 run by private capitals and 22 township health centers. They provide care services for over 1,800 seniors in extreme poverty.

Liu Yongxin, director of Taikang county’s civil affairs bureau, said these nursing homes have offered a perfect place for seniors in need of caring and medical treatment through professional medical services, meticulous care services and real-time health monitoring.

Besides, Taikang county is also drawing strength from social communities, encouraging its residents to take care of the seniors in their neighborhoods by offering government subsidies and volunteering jobs. Those who give care to their neighbors in need can receive a subsidy ranging from 300 to 600 yuan ($46 to $92) each month.

The county has now launched a management platform to monitor the health conditions and medication of the seniors in extreme poverty. It will further enhance management and launch centralized training for caregivers.

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