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What I saw at a Chinese Aged Care facility

What I saw at a Chinese Aged Care facility

Last month I visited Beijing for a Financial Planning Conference focused on the future of China. This is a very important country when we look to research asset allocation for our client’s investments. The majority of our investment clients have some exposure to China or to companies that invest in China. While I was there I decided to visit an Aged Care Facility (by myself).

With nervous trepidation I entered the private car that would take me on an hour drive to my destination, both partly from the way people drive and what I would see. I was armed with a letter from a Chinese conference delegate which I had dictated to explain I wasn’t some weird person just visiting older Chinese people.

After a false start, we accidently visited a Mental Health Facility, we arrived at our destination ‘Taiyang gong Nursing Home’. I tried to explain why I was there, after 2 minutes of confused looks and many smiles I was on my way for a tour.

The doors of the elevator opened up and I found myself in the middle of a room with about 20 residents. I can only assume they were happily talking and playing Mahjong before I arrived as I heard the room go silent as they stared at this strange man (me). I did my best attempt at saying “nǐ hǎo” (hello) and they were all smiles and waves.

I was very impressed with how clean the rooms were and the size. They offered single or shared (2) rooms and this also applied for the bathrooms. The average cost was between AUS $1000 and AUS $1500 per month. You also have the option of paying for additional care. I was shown both the Low and High Care floors which were both clean and the residents were all smiles.

I was then taken to the roof and shown the roof top garden, which was well fenced for safety. They also had caged rabbits and pigeons. From the look on my face the facility manager knew what I was thinking. She did her best charades impersonation telling me they don’t eat them. Back at the hotel I was told the older men use them as homing pigeons and the rabbits are pets to help comfort residents.

China1    China2    China3

After what seemed like 100 photos with the staff (everyone has a smart phone) I was on my way back to the hotel. I researched the facility a bit more and discovered this is a private facility. I have been told by many people this is not the usual standard in public facilities or outer city facilities. I cannot comment on other facilities as I did not see them. However I can recommend visiting this facility as the experience will stay with me for a life time.

Brad Monk

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