Nursing apartments are becoming a trend among seniors in China’s capital, Beijing. Surrounded by convenient transportation and health care institutions, this new senior lifestyle has attracted many elderly to enjoy the rest of their lives with better services.
As of the end of 2017, there were 241 million people aged 60 and older in China, more than 17 percent of the country’s population. To cope with its aging citizenry, the Chinese governments has been promoting the establishment of more nursing homes and making the market more accessible for private capital to invest more in elder care facilities.
For years, many elderly citizens has been reluctant to live in nursing homes, but this is changing, as the number of well-educated and relatively wealthy seniors has grown in recent years, and this group has higher-end lifestyle demand, which why they are willing to sign up to live in the so-called “Nursing apartments”, where they can be provided with daily care, entertainment, exercise, trips, and classes such as English, calligraphy, computer programming and knitting — all tailored to the elderly.
Unlike traditional nursing homes in China, these nursing apartments do not require membership but tenantship, during which time the seniors only pay monthly fees for rent, facilities, and services. The most impressive device is a red button in front of every bed in the rooms, which seniors can use in case of emergency or if they need help with anything. The cost of such a lifestyle is just as impressive as its convenience – the annual leasing fee ranges from 170,000 Yuan (around $24,000) to 300,000 (around $42,354).
As older people lining up to live at some luxury apartments in Beijing, Hangzhou, meanwhile, is taking a different approach with its elder care: encouraging young people living among its senior residents in the hope of tackling loneliness that can plague seniors. In exchange for very low rent, young tenants must spend at least 20 hours a month with the older residents. Mixing the old and young in intergenerational housing has been tried elsewhere, such as in Denmark, the Netherlands, the US and France.
Overall, China’s elderly-care facilities have improved as the country continues to brace the silver economy. China had 7.45 million elderly-care facility beds in 2017, which is double the number compared to 2016.Yet, there is still a huge gap between the aging population and the number of elderly-care facilities in China, as well as the expanding gap of services between urban and rural areas due to a shortage of qualified personnel.