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Hexi district, in North China’s Tianjin, is piloting upgraded services for the elderly, ranging from meals and housekeeping to healthcare.
An investigation into the health, daily needs, and incomes of 200,000 elderly citizens in the district shows that ready meals are their most urgent need, followed by medical and housekeeping services.
"During our daily visits, some elderly people have told me that they are faced with the dilemma of either fewer dishes or having leftovers. Some old people have difficulty going out and buying vegetables," said Zhang Haiyan, head of the Lianrongli community in the district.
She said that the community has 3,107 households with 9,099 residents, of whom 1,230 are aged 60 and above.
In response to the situation, the district has opened special canteens to provide senior citizens with abundant, freshly-cooked dishes. At present, there are 18 such canteens, with each one serving a daily average of 2,000 people. Canteens are granted a government subsidy of 2 yuan for each person dining there.
They also serve as places that can address social needs, where elders can chat with staff and look out for each other.
Medical service stations have also been set up in communities. These can provide services such as diagnoses, medicines, care, and rehabilitation to elder residents.
To ensure service centers can cover all senior residents within 0.7 kilometers, the district is adding 19 new elder service centers to the existing 26 to form a "service net".
A database is being built through the joint efforts of the city's departments of public security, health commissioning, social security and more to make sure all the elderly citizens' needs are properly met.
In addition, the district has also set up a special fund for buying insurance for the elderly.