Friday, December 24, 2010

An old-people's home in Shanghai - one solution

Shanghai 004Singing Party members by Fantake via Flickr
When I first entered the old-people's home, set up by the municipal government, at the Pingyang Street in the Xuhui district Minhang district of Shanghai I was pleasantly surprised. Larger groups of older people brought together, just because they are old and need care, seldom make me happy. But this Shanghai solution for at least a part of their aging citizens made a surprising good impression,
A light entrance, much room for the sun to kick in, clean, spacious and cheerful uniformed staff.
Admitted, yesterday was a bit of a special day, as we bumped by accident into a larger group of members of the Communist Party performing and handing out presents in an end-of-the-year party. At the second floor a group of apprentice hairdressers offered today free haircut, even less than the normal 5 Renminbi (0.5 euro) they charge.
The home for about 250 people is pretty new and most of the families are living in the neighborhood, often at the other side of the road. Most parts of the day family members can be found at the dormitories with seven beds per room. Food look good and healthy, and the people say they enjoy it.
The costs are relatively high: 300 euro per month, so, way to expensive for many families in Shanghai. And f
or the really rich, they might mostly be able to afford in-house service.
The staff seemed to be really caring, and are mostly women from outside Shanghai: without immigrants Shanghai will of course never solve its aging problem. But these paid-for, sustainable solutions, available for the so-called middle class, can take out a major chuck out of the macro-economic problem.

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