Xi Focus-Closeup: Committed to happy twilight years for all-Xinhua

Xi Focus-Closeup: Committed to happy twilight years for all

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-03-01 09:34:30

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- For more than seven years, dining at Hongruiyuan -- a restaurant in the Chengguan District of Lanzhou City -- has been a daily routine for 70-year-old Wang Heping and his wife.

In the restaurant not far from their home, they are served well-balanced meals featuring light, healthy, and nutritious food at a price of no more than 15 yuan (about 2.1 U.S. dollars) each, a massive attraction for the elderly couple who find cooking has gradually become a tiring chore.

However, the real appeal of the eatery, run by a community-based nursing service platform in the capital city of Gansu Province, goes beyond its menu. The couple can meet their old friends, make new ones, and rehearse for their amateur art troupe's performances.

"Many seniors like me not only have food here but take this place as their second home," Wang said.

The restaurant opened as part of a pilot program of the integrated nursing platform initiated by the local government in 2009. Participating enterprises offer on-site and on-demand services such as catering, housekeeping, medical care, and car-hailing services for the elderly in the community. Local government provides subsidies to ensure that all the services come at an affordable price.

In February 2013, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, visited the fledgling project during an inspection tour.

There, Xi carefully inquired about the food portions and hygiene conditions, as well as the tally of similar restaurants in the city. As it was lunchtime, Xi helped serve food and extended greetings and best wishes of happiness and health ahead of the Spring Festival.

"The general secretary's visit had significantly boosted our confidence and momentum to carry on with the program," said Li Zanpu, deputy head of the civil affairs bureau of Chengguan.

"At the time of his visit, the program was still groping its way on an experimental basis as there were not many things alike back then," Li recalled. "Xi's visit has greatly encouraged the local government, community, and relevant enterprises, galvanizing the interactions between all parties, and the program has been further expanded in capacity."

Since then, the platform has upgraded with digital tools and now connects with various elderly care-related institutions. Now, it is capable of providing up to 150 kinds of services, including helping the elderly dine, maintain personal hygiene and take baths. Over 60 percent of the senior citizens in the district have been covered by the services.

As China enters the aging society, Xi has always been a champion of old-age care undertakings to ensure that the elderly have a happy life.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Xi has given a series of instructions and led the endeavor to develop the country's elderly-care services and pension system.

During his domestic inspections, Xi often visits elderly care facilities to check if relevant policies have been implemented and if the residents receive proper care.

Before New Year's Day of 2014, Xi visited a nursing home in Beijing, talking with senior citizens and asking about their health, families and life at the nursing home.

Visiting a community elderly nursery center in Shanghai in November 2018, Xi said as Chinese society ages, "it is our common wish that elderly people lead a happy, healthy and long life."

Ahead of this year's Spring Festival, Xi once again extended his care and best wishes to the seniors. He conversed with residents in a social welfare home in Fuzhou via video link, asked about their physical condition and daily life, and told them to take good care of themselves.

Xi said respecting the elderly is a fine tradition and virtue of the Chinese nation. Whether a society is a happy one or not, it is very important to see whether the elderly are enjoying a happy life.

"We need to vigorously develop old-age care undertakings and industries, develop public old-age care institutions and inclusive old-age care services, and especially strengthen all-round protection for the extremely poor, those living on subsistence allowances, those very old, those who have lost the ability to live on their own," Xi said.

Through multiple efforts, China has brought 1.04 billion people under the coverage of basic old-age insurance, and ensured basic medical insurance for 95 percent of the population.

At the 20th CPC National Congress, Xi pledged further efforts to pursue a proactive national strategy in response to population aging, develop elderly care programs and services, and provide better services for the elderly who live alone. "By doing so, we can ensure that basic elderly care is accessible to the entire elderly population," Xi said. Endtiem