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Shortage of caretakers for elderly people is a pressing challenge for the city

    Among all welfare challenges Shanghai faces today, the shortage of caretakers for elderly people is the most pressing one.

    Now, an average caretaker is responsible for about 10 elders, and most caretakers dont have proper training, according to a recent session of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference.

    It was also pointed out that by the end of 2016, the population of the elderly in Shanghai reached 4.58 million, accounting for 31.6 percent of the total, and more than 600,000 of them were in need of caretakers.

    To combine medical care with pension system could be a solution to the population ageing problem, said Chen Fangyuan, vice president of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party. And the key issue in the endeavor is the coordination and cooperation among so many related governmental departments.

    Another problem related to the caretakers is that normally the caretakers dont have high education background and systematic trainings.

    Also, their salary is low but workload quite heavy, so the turnover rate is rather high. Systematic caretaker training programs need to be introduced and their social status should be improved. In addition, caretakers from other provinces could be imported to Shanghai to tackle the problem, said Chen.

    Zhang Huaiqiong, a member of the CPPCC Shanghai Committee, said more beds should be added to the nursery homes. At present, the distribution of beds in downtown and suburban nursery homes are unbalanced, and he suggested that the coordination of the nursery homes should be planned at the city level and a bed sharing system could also be established to tackle the problem.

    Some physically-challenged elders need 24-hour caretaking, especially during holidays, said Ding Yong, director-general of an elderly home. A credible, government-backed caretaking facility should be set up to coordinate resources from all sectors of society to take better care of the elders.