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Elderly need community-based care, experts urge

HCM CITY, Vietnam (Vietnam News/ANN) -- Elderly need community-based care and sustainable long-term care services is vital to countries with aging population including Vietnam.

Vietnam is among the countries with the fastest aging rate, with 10.1 million aged 60 and above. -- Photo VNS

Sustainable long-term, community-based care that provides health care, nursing care, housing and livelihood support for the elderly is vitally important for Vietnam and other countries with aging populations, experts said yesterday at a forum held in HCM City.

Keizo Takemi, a member of the House of Councillors in Japan, said the elderly should live the remainder of their lives in an environment familiar to them, even if they need long-term care.

“As the number of elderly with dementia is expected to increase, creation of an integrated community-care system is important,” he said. “It's necessary for municipalities and prefectures that serve as insurers to create an integrated community c are system based on regional autonomy and independence.”

Dr Peh Kim Choo, chief executive officer of Tsao Foundation and director of the Hua Mei Centre for Successful Ageing in Singapore, said there was a need for a “paradigm shift in how the role of the elderly is envisaged as well as how services can be designed from the public and private perspectives”.

“One important role we have is joining the dots, acting as the catalyst in creating an integrated community-care system and interfacing with the health and social care system, which is largely driven by the Government in Singapore,” she added.

Also speaking at the forum, Prof Du Peng, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Renmin University of China, said that most long-term care services in China were operated by public institutions.

Nursing homes have more than 7.3 million beds, but nearly half of them are not used, he said, adding that extension of care services to the communities is one direction of reform.

“China has learned from previous community-care programmes and has been trying its best to establish a long-term community care system both in urban and rural areas. The facilities are easier to establish, but the operation needs sustainable input and management,” he added.

Sustainable long-term care in communities also depends on qualified human resources and the integration of government agencies, according to Du.

Rural aging is more serious than in urban settings, with long-term care services mainly occurring in cities, and an increasing gap between rural and urban care systems.

(Latest Update August 17, 2017)

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