SHENYANG, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Putting on a bright blue knitted jacket and floral trousers, with a carefully combed silver hairdo, Li Suyun celebrated the Double Ninth Festival, China's Seniors' Day, in her finest attire.
"Not a hair out of place," said the 87-year-old in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province. "It's a festival for our elderly people, and I should definitely primp and preen."
The Double Ninth Festival, also known as the Chongyang Festival, celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, falls on Tuesday this year. It is an occasion to care for and send blessings to older people in China, a country with a fast-growing aging population.
By the end of 2021, China had 267 million people aged 60 and above, or 18.9 percent of the total population. Over the past decade, the country has seen remarkable progress in elderly care, offering an increasingly diverse range of services for the elderly.
DIVERSE ELDERLY CARE SERVICES
"I believe I deserve a quality life, even in a wheelchair," said Li.
Three years ago, due to difficulty in walking, Li moved into a local elderly care home in Hunnan District of Shenyang.
Along the way, the tidy and fashion-loving lady found that she rejoiced in her new life at the community elderly care home. "I hit it off with other people. I always join them in chatting and other daytime activities organized by nursing workers," Li said, adding that the care home boasts 24-hour nursing care, elaborately arranged meals and laundry service.
According to the National Health Commission, as of the first quarter of this year, around 360,000 elderly care institutions and facilities had been established across the country, with around 8.13 million beds.
China's elderly care system has also reached those who choose home-based care. According to Wang Haidong, head of the elderly health department of the commission, about 90 percent of the country's elderly are cared for at home.
The Mudan Community in Huanggu District of Shenyang introduced free door-to-door services for elderly residents, including health checks, food delivery, house cleaning and massages.
"We regularly hold activities to enrich the lives of the elderly, for their physical and emotional well-being," said Wang Hui, Party secretary of the community.
INNOVATION AND FUTURE PLANS
Cutting-edge intelligent health care has also made progress in China's elderly health-care and rehabilitation system.
In north China's Tianjin Municipality, local authorities have embarked on a smart care system for the elderly, which is integrated with technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data and intelligent hardware.
Equipped with real-time health monitors, elderly people gain access to telemedicine and an SOS system that will contact the hospital when the monitor logs abnormal physical data.
In Shenyang, wearable exoskeleton robots developed by Siasun Robot and Automation Co., Ltd. help disabled seniors regain mobility.
Li Guohui, 66, has undergone some exhausting rehabilitation training in a hospital after being hit by a condition called cerebral apoplexy hemiplegia. During this process, he tried out the exoskeleton robot to assist his movements. "The exoskeleton significantly improves the rehabilitation, which allows me to walk around and do housework on my own," Li said.
"The elderly care service is a comprehensive and long-term project, which requires the joint efforts of the government, the community, healthcare enterprises and volunteers," said Zhao Hailin, president of the elderly care industry federation in Liaoning Province.
Earlier this year, China's State Council released a plan for the development of the country's elderly care service system during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
China will step up institutional innovation, and boost policy support and financial input to enable older people to share in China's development achievements, according to the plan. ■