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Better community services

Updated: 2012-09-21 08:02
( China Daily)

Whether the services and care the government provides for senior residents can be more extensive and intensive will be of importance to social stability and harmony given the ever-growing number of senior citizens.

The minister of civil affairs revealed at a press conference on Thursday that nursing homes will be built in both urban and rural areas and stations will be established in communities to provide services for senior residents who choose to spend their remaining years at home.

Preferential land, electricity, gas and taxation policies will be offered to nursing homes in order to increase the number of beds from the current 3.57 million to 6.6 million by the end of 2015. The aim is to make 30 beds available for every 1,000 senior residents on the average.

But despite the efforts the government has made and will make, the majority of senior residents will have to stay in their own homes for the rest of their lives. Therefore, providing adequate and quality services for the elderly in residential communities will make a great difference to the quality of their lives.

Providing services for the elderly in communities has great potential and the ministry has a program to improve community service in the years to come that will, in particular, consolidate the role a neighborhood committee plays.

In fact, there are many things that both sub-district offices and neighborhood communities can do to make the lives of senior citizens better.

It is good to have such a program, there is more than enough reason for the Ministry of Civil Affairs to place emphasis on the construction of community service facilities and the training of service providers and volunteers.

Yet, local governments need to make detailed plans for its implementation. The more detailed these plans are, the better services the elderly will receive.

Time is pressing. At the end of 2011, the number of senior residents aged 60 and above had reached 185 million, accounting for 13.7 percent of the total population, this number will be 200 million by the end of 2013 and is expected to reach 221 million by the end of 2015, 16 percent of the population.

Good community care is what the country needs to cushion the impact of an aging population on its economic growth and social progress.

(China Daily 09/21/2012 page8)