The number of beds for seniors in Beijing’s nursing homes will be increased to 150,000 by 2020 to cater to the needs of the aging population, officials said on Jan 24.
Currently, 449 nursing homes serve the elderly with 98,888 beds, and 24,342 beds will be provided in 108 homes, which are under construction, according to the Office for Seniors of Beijing.
The city has more than 3.21 million people above the age of 60, and the number increases by 500 daily. By 2020, it is estimated that the capital will have around 4 million people above the age of 60, according to the Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs.
Despite the ongoing plans to boost the number of beds, Li Wanjun, the director of the bureau, said the government is focusing on improving facilities at nursing homes to provide better services to the elderly rather than building more homes.
Separately, the city is promoting a new model of care for the elderly where they can live at home with assistance from the community and professionals when it comes to food and medical services, Li said.
The law approving this model of care for the elderly took effect on May 1 last year, and thousands have benefited from it so far, he said.
The city invested 44 million yuan ($6.8 million) last year in eight districts to deliver food to seniors who were not able to buy it and cook on their own, according to the Office for Seniors.
Geng Yutian, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, said that 410 nursing homes can now provide medical services, and about 50 percent of all nursing homes are required to do so by 2017.
In addition, the Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs will implement a pilot program to install elevators in old buildings where the elderly live. Old buildings with fewer than six floors typically do not have elevators, posing problems for the elderly in the event of emergencies.
Capital aims to cap population at 23m by 2020
Some Beijing residents will be relocated out of town to ensure that the capital does not exceed its population target of 23 million by 2020, a high-ranking official said on Jan 23.
The cap on the city’s populace was set in its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), and comes as the number of permanent residents in Beijing hit 21.7 million by the end of last year.
Lu Yan, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said at a news conference on Jan 23, “Consider the crowded downtown area, the population must be controlled: some will be relocated out of town.”
Mayor Wang Anshun said on Jan 22 that the population of six downtown districts would drop 15 percent over five years.