The FINANCIAL -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $100 million with a complementary technical assistance grant of $670,000 to support development of an elderly care system in Hebei Province.
“As an aging society, Hebei has a strong desire to identify models and partnerships that can deliver affordable and quality elderly care services which address the needs of the diverse older population,” said Wendy Walker, an ADB Principal Social Development Specialist. “The project will be ADB’s first to comprehensively address elderly care services development by the public and private sector, providing a demonstration project to define the optimum roles for the different stakeholders.”
The aging population along with its attendant social and economic impacts is the most significant demographic challenge facing the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Hebei reached “aging society” status in 1999 when it passed the 10% threshold of population over the age of 60. This was projected to have reached 17% in 2016, and will rise to 31% by 2050 — just below the national estimate of 34% for that year, according to ADB.
Traditional family support systems are increasingly unable to meet elderly care needs, due to the combined impacts of fast urbanization, internal migration of youth away from rural areas, and the one-child policy.
The PRC’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 2011-2015, supported the creation of a three-tiered old age system with home-based care at the base, community care as support, and residential care as a supplement. But in Hebei, public perceptions of residential care facilities are low and only half of the projected total need for beds in the province are currently available. Staffing and training are insufficient, and home and community services limited.
To address these problems, the project will develop five residential care facilities — to be run by the public and private sector providers — for long-term care. These will also serve as hubs to develop home and community-based care services. Additional facilities such as rehabilitation centers will be built to deliver new services and improve the integration of health care and elderly care.
An integral part of project design is human resources development to address one of the most critical constraints to expanding access and improving elderly care services. Yanshan University will also develop an elderly care training center and courses in five priority areas including caregiving and nursing, information and communications technology for elderly care, management, occupational therapy, and geriatric psychology.
The accompanying technical assistance project financed by ADB will provide support to local government and the implementing agencies to build management capacity as well as address key elderly care systems improvement issues such as regulation, assessment of care needs, and involvement of civil society organizations.
The total cost of the loan project is $180.11 million, of which $25.09 million will be provided by the government and $55.03 million will come from the private sector.