In China, less than 2 percent of older adults (those over 65) live in assisted living facilities, but demand is growing rapidly. Photo from Unsplash
By Lei Qi
A research project led by Duke Kunshan faculty Chenkai Wu that will advise policymakers on the construction of assisted living facilities has received RMB 30,000 (US$4,300) in funding from the Shenzhen Hospital Administrators Association.
The project aims to help Shenzhen, a major city in southern China, create a long-term plan for assisted living facilities, which are used to house residents who are unable to live independently, such as disabled people and those with dementia.
Researchers will collect and analyze national and regional data on the city’s elderly population; those with disabilities; the number, capacity and service fees of existing assisted living facilities; and nurse-to-patient ratios. They will gather information from publicly accessible resources including peer-reviewed papers, government documents, white papers, newsletters and urban plans.
At the end of project, Wu and team member Jiayi Zhou, a rising senior majoring in global health at Wuhan University, will work with the association to submit to the Shenzhen government a policy advisory report, which will emphasize the characteristics, size and type of demand among elderly population for assisted living facilities.
“I’m very excited to be part of this endeavor and to build connections between DKU and government agencies in Shenzhen,” said Chenkai Wu, assistant professor of global health. “Population aging is a ubiquitous phenomenon in almost every city in China. Different places can learn from each other, and our analysis has the potential to scale up from the local level to provincial and national levels.”
Assisted living facilities provide a variety of services, both medical and personal care. In China, less than 2 percent of older adults (those over 65) live in assisted living facilities, but demand is growing rapidly.
“China has the world’s largest number of older adults and is experiencing population aging at an unprecedented rate,” said Wu, who also serves as director of graduate studies for Duke Kunshan’s master of science in global health program. “Due to rapid growth in the number of older adults and marked increase in life expectancy, the population of disabled elders and demand for long-term care services will increase dramatically.”
“It’s critical that policymakers understand the current and future expected population and needs of disabled elders so that they can improve their plan on building assisted living facilities.”