Tak­ing Care of the City’s El­derly

Beijing (English) - - EDITOR’S NOTE -

Se­nior cit­i­zens can of­ten be seen in Bei­jing's neigh­bour­hoods, and for the most part, enjoy rel­a­tively leisurely lives. Some keep an eye on their neigh­bours' homes or chil­dren who play nearby. Some find a shaded spot in the park and im­merse them­selves in a game of Chi­nese chess. Oth­ers choose to don a red arm­band and yellow cap to work as vol­un­teers help­ing passers-by. No mat­ter how they opt to spend their time, the cap­i­tal's el­derly pop­u­la­tion help make the city feel like home with their ever-present smiles.

For Chi­nese peo­ple, fil­ial piety (re­spect for one's par­ents and el­ders) is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant and ex­tends to all old peo­ple. Within the home, fil­ial piety helps make the lives of se­nior cit­i­zens hap­pier and fam­i­lies more har­mo­nious. Within a city, the hap­pi­ness of the el­derly re­flects both how civilised a place is and the gov­ern­ment's re­spon­sive­ness.

Re­cently, the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Bu­reau of Civil Af­fairs is­sued up­dated mea­sures on sup­port­ing the el­derly and dis­abled in the city, in or­der to cover more peo­ple and pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices. For ex­am­ple, the lat­est mea­sures now mean that per­ma­nent Bei­jing res­i­dents or those with Bei­jing res­i­dence per­mits can ap­ply for the card sup­port­ing el­derly peo­ple at age 60 in­stead of the pre­vi­ous 65. Card­hold­ers can now also enjoy dis­counted or free bus travel and en­try to parks and scenic spots. Since the card was in­tro­duced on Jan­uary 1, 2017, a total of 2.8 mil­lion cards have been pro­duced for those aged 65 or older, and the num­ber of cards in ser­vice reached 2.54 mil­lion by Oc­to­ber 31, 2018. Of these, 2.18 mil­lion card­hold­ers are per­ma­nent Bei­jing res­i­dents, and ap­prox­i­mately 360,000 are non­per­ma­nent res­i­dents. In 2018, over 1.1 mil­lion cards have been pro­duced and is­sued to peo­ple aged 60– 64. It is es­ti­mated that a total of 3.9 mil­lion cards will be re­leased by the end of 2018.

Bei­jing's se­nior cit­i­zens also enjoy favourable health treat­ment from the gov­ern­ment. Since the Reg­u­la­tion on Home-based Care for El­derly Peo­ple in Bei­jing was im­ple­mented four years ago, the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Peo­ple's Congress has con­tin­ued to fo­cus on solv­ing a prom­i­nent is­sue each year and taken mea­sures to en­cour­age their im­ple­men­ta­tion. By the end of Septem­ber 2018, the city's pri­mary health care in­sti­tu­tions signed up as “fam­ily doc­tors” for more than 1.94 mil­lion res­i­dents aged 65 and older and pro­vided home vis­its for over 103,000 peo­ple. In ad­di­tion, the tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine ( Tcm)-based health care net­work for el­derly peo­ple now cov­ers the en­tire city. It con­sists of 54 hos­pi­tal-based el­derly care con­sor­tiums, com­mu­nity health or­gan­i­sa­tions and el­derly care ser­vice providers; Tcm-based el­derly health care zones in 105 ex­per­i­men­tal units; and 1,011 TCM el­derly heath care teams. So far, 680 com­mu­nity-based el­derly care ser­vice sta­tions have been cre­ated across the city, of which, 450 are lo­cated in ur­ban ar­eas. Ef­forts to sup­port health care for the el­derly re­flect the CPC Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mit­tee and the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment's con­cerns over the health of its el­derly res­i­dents.

Bei­jing is also work­ing to up­grade the liv­ing stan­dards of its se­nior cit­i­zens. On Oc­to­ber 16, 2018, the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Tourism Devel­op­ment con­vened the 2018 Work Con­fer­ence on Tourism for El­derly Peo­ple. At the con­fer­ence, a re­port on the devel­op­ment of tourism for el­derly peo­ple in 2017 was re­leased in­ves­ti­gat­ing, analysing and study­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tions, de­mands and is­sues in the mar­ket in Bei­jing. Af­ter­wards, the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Bu­reau of Cul­ture and Tourism an­nounced that it would im­prove ser­vices and pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties for the el­derly in tourist re­sorts by cre­at­ing new prod­ucts and friendly en­vi­ron­ments. In the fu­ture, ad­di­tional poli­cies will also be is­sued to drive the devel­op­ment of tourism for the el­derly and up­grade tourism ser­vices for them.

To­day, el­derly peo­ple are liv­ing hap­pier lives and re­ceiv­ing more care from those around them in Bei­jing. The cap­i­tal is truly on its way to be­com­ing an el­derly-friendly city.

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