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US Assisted Living Facilities Inspire Senior Care in China

By the year 2050, the number of seniors in China will exceed the entire population of the United States. But how is the country going to provide adequate assisted living opportunities for its elderly? It seems that China is looking to models in the United States for its future facilities. Columbia Pacific and Emeritus Corporation are teaming up to form Cascade Healthcare, which aims to provide rounded assisted care for senior living facilities in China.

Managing director Serena Xie commutes between Shanghai and Seattle to coordinate the formation of the project. She hopes the future of senior living in China will take note of the standards imposed on United States facilities, “[s]uch as how they will be bathed. How the medications should be given to them. All these will be to the U.S. standards, which I think in China, at the moment, the facility that run by the government, they probably still need to do a better job.”

Xie adds that the Chinese versions of these homes will not be entirely Westernized-instead of Bingo, residents will play Mahjong. Instead of American cuisine, typical Chinese fare will be served. The goal isn’t to Americanize the care itself, but to increase the types of care. Facilities will include not only medical and culinary provisions, but regular extracurricular activities.

There is a shortage of housing opportunities for seniors in China. Adults used to take care of their elderly parents, but as the generations subjected to China’s one-child policy grow up, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to properly care for their aging parents. Some seniors have to wait about two years for an opening in a facility.

“The size of the market and the degree of opportunity in China takes your breath away,” said National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry (NIC) president Robert Kramer. “But success will not be easily accomplished.” There isn’t currently a system of long-term senior care in place in China, so it will be important to get the word out about the benefits of this new type of care.

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