More as­sis­tance for Shang­hai’s el­derly

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai


The found­ing of a new as­so­ci­a­tion that will pro­vide bet­ter ser­vice for the grow­ing num­ber of el­derly peo­ple in Shang­hai was an­nounced on July 4 at a fo­rum on ag­ing pop­u­la­tion.

This as­so­ci­a­tion will be jointly es­tab­lished by a high­tech cen­ter spe­cial­iz­ing in the aid of el­derly peo­ple and the trade union of the city’s in­for­ma­tion ser­vice in­dus­try.

Held at Hongkou Li­brary in Shang­hai, the fo­rum com­prised cor­po­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tives, po­lice of­fi­cers and so­cial sci­en­tists who shared their ideas about ways the In­ter­net can be used to im­prove the qual­ity of life of el­derly peo­ple.

Shang­hai started to teach its el­derly to use the In­ter­net 15 years ago but their usage of it is largely lim­ited to so­cial me­dia apps such as WeChat, ac­cord­ing to re­search find­ings. The el­derly pop­u­la­tion has also been vul­ner­a­ble to on­line scams too, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cer Huang Yi of the Shang­hai Po­lice.

The new as­so­ci­a­tion plans to work with cor­po­rate part­ners such as Ali­pay and Uber which will adapt their ser­vices to pro­vide more el­der­lyfriendly edi­tions.

Yin Zhi­gang, direc­tor of the Shang­hai Ag­ing Sci­ence In­sti­tute, re­vealed at the fo­rum that anal­y­sis of the city’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion has been car­ried out since 1996. Shang­hai is the only city in China that is­sues the sur­vey re­sults of its el­derly peo­ple ev­ery year.

Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics, four out of 10 peo­ple with reg­is­tered res­i­dences in Shang­hai will be aged 60 or above by 2030. Re­search has also shown that Shang­hai is one of the fastest ag­ing cities in the world. The city’s el­derly pop­u­la­tion was also found to enjoy bet­ter health than their coun­ter­parts in other Chi­nese cities.

“Shang­hai’s ag­ing pop­u­la­tion has been grow­ing since 1979 and this is mainly due to a change in life­styles and more ad­vanced med­i­cal care,” said Yin.

By the end of 2015, 30.2 per­cent of the reg­is­tered pop­u­la­tion in Shang­hai were aged 60 and older, mean­ing that al­most a third of the pop­u­la­tion can be con­sid­ered el­derly. “The num­ber of se­nile peo­ple who are aged 80 years and above are grow­ing too,” said Yin.

The first gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese who were un­der the “one child pol­icy” are now reach­ing old age and the pro­por­tion of women in this group gets big­ger as the age rises. In Shang­hai, women on av­er­age re­tire at the age of 55 and they are ex­pected to live for an­other 30 years. Dur­ing this pe­riod, they are very likely to ex­pe­ri­ence the death of their spouse, re­sult­ing in “longer pe­ri­ods of lone­li­ness”, said Yin.

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