Proper care for seniors with cognitive disorders and meals for the elderly are the two top priorities for senior care services this year, the civil affairs bureau said on Monday.
Senior citizens play games at the Shanghai Silvercare Health and Rehabilitation Facility in Hongkou District on Monday. (Photo: Shine.cn)
About 200,000 seniors in the city suffer from dementia and the figure is rising. There are not enough beds and nurses to meet the needs of this group.
“Caring for seniors with cognitive disorders is difficult compared with taking care of other elderly people,” said Tao Jiming, director of the bureau’s social welfare department. “In the past, undifferentiated care was provided at care homes, but what’s called for today are personalized, professional services.”
Senior care providers should create areas exclusively for this group with comfortable surroundings and specialist nurses.
A new guideline on seniors with dementia lays out requirements on training of nursing staff, and cooperation between care and health agencies. Incentives, such as subsidies for care agencies with specialist dementia units, are on offer.
Shanghai Silvercare Health and Rehabilitation Facility in Hongkou District is home to more than 300 seniors with an average age of 84, close to half of them suffer from cognitive disorders. An area known as “Memory Home” has 76 beds.
Memory Home features a warm, nostalgic environment with nostalgic broadcasts, thermos flasks, enamel cups, books and newspapers and 59 people currently reside there. Regular memory training sessions are conducted along with aromatherapy and music therapy. There is a library and cinema. An intelligent bedding system tells staff when anything untoward occurs.
“Eliminating any sense of strangeness and isolation is important,” said Wang Xiaoming, facility director.
Xin, 80, has an 80-year-old wife in Memory Home. “The environment is ideal and the nurses are very patient, so I have very few concerns,” he said.
Canteens for the elderly are another front of government action. There should be 200 new venues providing meals for the elderly by the end of this year. The current 800 serve about 80,000 meals a day. By 2022, 1,600 canteens will feed 160,000 seniors, about 5 percent of the aged population. Priorities are seniors with disabilities, living alone or without children and those in financial difficulties.
Community service, day care and activity centers should have canteens, and meals should be delivered to those who cannot get to the canteen.
Quyang Road sub-district in Hongkou has more than 34,000 residents aged over 60 — more than 7,000 of them are over 80 and more than 1,000 living alone. The sub-district has four canteens, each providing 24,000 meals a month.
They were built by the sub-district but are managed by third parties. The average price for a meal is around 15 yuan ($2.24), about 20 percent less than small eateries nearby. Delivery is available for those who need it.
“Our survey found that catering is the biggest demand of seniors here, and there is now a canteen within 15 minutes walking distance of every elderly resident,” said Sheng Ming, director of the sub-district community service office.
“The meals are cheap and delicious, and they are healthy with low sugar, salt and oil,” said Sun Wangxia, 70, who regularly eats at a canteen on Yutian Road.