"I have low blood sugar again and the antianemia drugs are running out," the elderly Zhou Jufang, an empty-nester who resides on her own, said as she pressed a button in her home to seek help from the staff in her community. The staff members then sent Zhou's information to the community doctors before buying medicine and delivering it to Zhou.
Such convenience is enjoyed by all of the older residents of Chongwen community of Shandong province.
To better meet the increasingly diversified needs of senior citizens, especially those who do not have relatives to care for them, Chongwen community has utilized the internet and other new technologies to customize a number of emergency call service systems for its residents. Through the system, the elderly can simply push a button fixed to the wall of their home to call the community service hall. They can arrange anything from emergency assistance to living services such as housekeeping and delivery of groceries.
"As soon as an individual presses the button, information including his or her name and address is displayed on a big screen in our service hall, so workers can go to their door and provide help in time," said Zhang Songchun, deputy head of the Chongwen community. Zhang added that the "one-click call" spares the elderly otherwise tedious steps in getting the help they need. Staff, meanwhile, is on call 24 hours a day, providing the elderly access to smart care services without leaving their homes.
Similar services are also being launched in Shanghai. Some communities have installed intelligent water meters, intelligent magnetic door locks, and other smart devices connected to the internet for elderly residents living alone. Through real-time data collected by the intelligent equipment, community workers are constantly updated about the condition of their dependents and take the necessary action, ensuring their safety and security.
As China's society continues to age, six government departments including the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the National Development and Reform Commission, recently jointly published a proposal to develop community-based elderly care services.
The proposal encourages the establishment of an information platform as well as the enrichment of services and the innovation of smart products for old-age community care to solve issues when caring for the elderly who live alone or without self-care abilities.
China's smart elderly care industry was estimated to have a market value of nearly 3.2 trillion yuan in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 18% over the past three years. That figure is expected to exceed four trillion yuan by the end of 2020.