Nurs­ing home visi­tors earn coupons

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CANG WEI in Nan­jing cang­wei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A nurs­ing home in Suzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, of­fers re­wards to en­cour­age peo­ple to visit their par­ents and rel­a­tives.

Ac­cord­ing to Fux­ing Nurs­ing Home, peo­ple who visit the home more than 30 times in two months can get a voucher worth 200 yuan ($29). A 100yuan voucher will be given if they visit more than 20 times in two months. The voucher can be used to pay for the nurs­ing home’s fees.

Yin Zongyin, a di­rec­tor of the home, said that the re­wards, though not too much, have suc­cess­fully re­minded many peo­ple to visit.

The pol­icy was is­sued about two months ago. Be­fore that, of the 512 se­niors in the home only 137 were vis­ited twice a month, 126 once a month and 134 once every two months. No one vis­ited the 77 who of­ten say they feel lonely, he said.

But since the coupon was in­tro­duced, 129 se­niors have had peo­ple visit them more than 30 times, 38 more than 20 times and 60 more than 10 times, ac­cord­ing to the nurs­ing home.

“Nurs­ing homes can pro­vide pro­fes­sional ser­vices to the se­niors, but we can­not pro­vide the emo­tional com­fort that only their chil­dren and rel­a­tives can give,” Yin said.

Xiang Furong, a nurse with the home, said that the av­er­age age of the 512 se­niors is 81 years old. Many of them want to be ac­com­pa­nied by their blood rel­a­tives, not by nurs­ing home work­ers.

“Some of the rel­a­tives feel ashamed when they know the pol­icy,” said Xiang. “Af­ter they visit the home, some se­niors have bet­ter ap­petites and more smiles on their faces.”

Wei Mouwen, dean of Fux­ing se­niors Nurs­ing Home, un­der­stands the dilemma peo­ple face when de­cid­ing whether to spend time at work or take care of el­derly fam­ily mem­bers.

“For those bread-earn­ers whose par­ents are get­ting old, they might not be able to have enough time to visit the home. For cou­ples who are the only chil­dren in their fam­i­lies, they need to take care of four par­ents and their own chil­dren.”

Wei said that with the se­nior pop­u­la­tion in­creas­ing rapidly, more fam­i­lies will face the prob­lem of sup­port­ing their par­ents.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, 222 mil­lion Chi­nese, ac­count­ing for more than 16 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, were 60 or older at the end of 2015. That num­ber grows by about 10 mil­lion every year.

To en­cour­age more peo­ple to sup­port se­niors, lo­cal gov­ern­ments are also rolling out more poli­cies.

For ex­am­ple, Nan­jing, cap­i­tal of Jiangsu prov­ince, has of­fered money to those who take care of their fam­ily mem­bers at home. Bei­jing has planned sim­i­lar poli­cies, which will give salaries to job­less peo­ple who take care of their fam­ily mem­bers.

Bei­jing also sug­gests that peo­ple who take care of el­derly fam­ily mem­bers be given hol­i­days, in­clud­ing cel­e­brat­ing se­niors’ birthdays, go­ing to hos­pi­tals and or­ga­niz­ing ac­tiv­i­ties on the Chongyang Fes­ti­val for the el­derly, ac­cord­ing to a five-year work plan of the city.

have had peo­ple visit them more than 30 times since the coupon was in­tro­duced. Only 137 were vis­ited twice a month be­fore that.

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