China / Society

Beijing has no plans to build new large nursing homes

By ZHANG YU/WANG WEI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-24 09:13
New large nursing homes will not be built in Beijing or its suburbs, a city official said, citing the high cost of land and operations in the capital and surrounding areas.

Aged-care services will not be completely shifted out of Beijing, like other industries, but smaller operations will be necessary, Li Wanjun, head of Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs, said during a talk show this month.

"Beijing is too crowded to provide a comfortable living environment for elderly people," Li said.

Neighboring areas, including Hebei province and Tianjin, are expected to provide such services to seniors from Beijing, Li said. Even in Beijing suburbs, the cost of nursing care for the elderly is about one-third of the cost of services in the city.

The number of Beijing residents aged 60 or above could reach 5.6 million by 2040, according to the bureau.

China Standard, a Beijing company, has started to build a nursing home community in Gaobeidian, Hebei province, about 80 kilometers away from Beijing, Li said.

The community, an hour's drive from Beijing, covers an area of 300,000 square meters. When completed, it can accommodate more than 2,600 beds, said Bao Weizhong, the company's vice-president.

"It's far from meeting the need," Bao said. "This is the first of its kind outside Beijing, but it's just a start."

To compensate for the distance from Beijing, the community aims to provide quality and comprehensive services from healthcare to entertainment for the elderly in order to attract them.

In Beijing, about 3 million to 4 million senior citizens need nursing home services, so it's not possible to move all the nursing home organizations to other cities, Li said.

Beijing is to establish more than 200 small community care centers for the elderly by next year. The small centers can satisfy those who would not like to live outside Beijing.

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