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Internet boon to elder care


The Internet is not exclusive to young people; the elderly in the aged-care center in Wuzhen of Tongxiang city, East China's Zhejiang province, are also benefiting from the trendy technology. 

Eighty-year-old Hu Hui is one of them. A fashionable woman of some fame in her neighborhood, she is quite interested in up-to-date devices like computers and smartphones.

She even opened her own dance teaching class on a live streaming platform this year with the help of the staff members of the care center.

"We could only find somewhere in the park for exercising in sunny days in the past," said Hu, "but now I can teach my friends to dance through a tiny mobile phone after I learn on the computer at home, despite the rain and storms."

Operating since August, 2015, the home-based elder-care center has found an ideal source of entertainment by offering Internet lessons targeting the oldsters.

"They are willing to try something new and have shown a strong appetite for novelty. They just want to save their children trouble at home," said Shen Yan, an official at the center.

By the end of 2016, there were 167,800 people of 60 or above in Tongxiang, accounting for 24.2 percent of the total population, which is 7.5 percent higher than the national average.

The aging trend and empty-nest families have posed a severe challenge to elder care services. Home-based care centers offer a solution to the problem by providing all-round support.

Each senior citizen has an "ID card" which records their medical examination results and their families can check up anytime by following the Wechat public account, according to Yu Weigeng, a doctor at the health management center

An alarm locator is available so the center can be informed in case the elderly fell down or roam outside their normal range.

Professional personnel are also available to ensure customized services ranging from emergency assistance to health monitoring reach the doorstep; all of them just one phone call away.

Seven second-tier service stations have been established in Tongxiang to reach all the urban and rural areas via the Internet, making Tongxiang a good example of the new elder care system. 


A group of residents dance in a home-based elder-care center in Wuzhen, Tongxiang city on Nov 1. [Photo/]