Shanghai will set up 100 more community-based senior service centers to provide day care, meals, basic medical treatment, bath assistance and psychological counseling for the elderly.
They are scheduled to be ready by the end of this year.
"These centers allow seniors to receive professional care service in a familiar environment and they are also convenient for their children to visit them," said Zhu Qinhao, director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
Developing community-based, senior care facilities was a priority to tackle the city's aging population challenge, he said yesterday.
As of the end of last year, the city had already established 32 such centers, which provided full-day, short-term respite care for seniors who need rehabilitation nursing services after being discharged from hospital and who don't have 24-hour care provided at home.
Civil affairs authorities plan to set up at least one comprehensive senior service center at each neighborhood citywide by the end of 2020.
Zhu said idle property resources at residential complexes would be used to support the goal. "In the future, senior residents won't need to step out of the communities where they live to receive care services because these centers will turn residential complexes into senior care homes," Zhu added.
He said officials, however, faced a big obstacle because some residents had a deep-rooted prejudice toward senior service facilities. They welcomed senior care homes, he said, but it was a matter of "not in my backyard." Zhu said officials would work at enhancing communication with residents.
The traditional care model of 90 percent seniors relying on family care, 7 percent receiving community care service and the rest living at senior care homes which the city had depended on for a long time was no longer fit for purpose, Zhu added. This was because it was now more difficult to satisfy the needs of the city's aging population, and an integration of family, community and senior care homes was urgently required.
Scarce land resources, high costs and the long construction periods required for building senior care homes also posed challenges.
Shanghai's senior population grew 5 percent last year from 2015 to reach 4.58 million, accounting for more than 31 percent of permanent residents.