A new model of mutual assistance service for the elderly

Early in the morning, 61-year-old Zhao Xiuying went to the health care service center of her apartment complex in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, where she received medicine from the center, and on the way home she bought vegetables. She did not take these things home, but sent them to Grandma Hy’s house in the same apartment complex. Grandma He, 84, is an elderly woman who lives alone, and Ms. Zhao Xiuying helps her get medicine twice a month.

When Zhao Xiuying comes out of Grandma He’s house, she saves her volunteer service hours in her bank account, which is in the “Time Bank” program installed on the WeChat application on her smartphone. Some of the basics of daily life, the rest can trade for massage and disease prevention services.”

More than twenty percent of the residents of Yaohua Street in Ms. Zhao’s neighborhood in Nanjing is over sixty years old. So this street took the initiative and explored a new paradigm of mutual support of the elderly for each other, where the younger serve the older, and the hours of care provided in the “time bank” of the WeChat account.

The “time bank” model is based on the idea of ​​”the young calculate the timing of the services they provide in exchange for caring for the elderly who benefit from these services” and works to encourage and guide volunteers to provide services to care for those who are older than them, and according to the record of “the time of the service provided to care for the elderly.” At the expense of Wechat, of course for certain rules, the volunteer can exchange the service time he provides for certain services whenever he wants.

Wang Xiaohua, director of the Time Bank in the Yaohua Street Residential Complex, told the journalist that so far they have received 7,666 volunteers who have registered their volunteer service hours, which amounted to about 420,000 hours, knowing that they have provided services for more than 690,000 times.

She also added that the “Time Bank” model entered its third version in 2019, and was upgraded to the Chinese WeChat firmware. Volunteers can register online, apply for volunteer services and inquire about service hours. While the moderators of this model validate the data provided based on the personal data of each volunteer such as age, gender, place of residence, etc., and this not only improves volunteers’ enthusiasm for service, but also the efficiency of the services improve provided.

To solve the problem of the incompetence of the elderly in the use of smartphones, the widget has been adapted to suit the age by making it characterized by a clear interface, enlarged fonts and simplified operations. Wei Yingbao, head of “Time Bank” on Yaohua Street, said that educational activities related to this program are carried out in addition to the traditional manual accounting method.

In October 2021, in order to further promote the development of the elderly care industry, various departments in China formulated a joint action plan for the period (2021-2025) to develop the smart health services sector related to elderly care. This plan proposed various tasks such as improving information technology support, improving the quality of platforms and upgrading them, enriching smart health services, expanding smart areas for elderly care, promoting the integrated application of a new generation of information technology and smart devices to care for. this category of people within homes, residential complexes and other institutions, and applying smart services such as “Internet Plus for Elderly Care”, Mutual Assistance and “Time Bank” for Elderly Care.

Currently, Beijing, Hebei Province and other places in China have learned from this successful experience of the “time bank” model to mobilize people to participate in volunteer services for elderly care and housing complex management. In January this year, a Beijing municipal government work report indicated that the development of a “time bank” model to help the elderly care for each other is a priority within the city government’s business program, whereby volunteers provide an “hour-time- can store currency”. ” in their “time bank” account in exchange for One hour of their care services. Temporary currency can be exchanged for services related to pension-related services, and gifts can be given to family members. If more than ten thousand hours of voluntary service are saved, can engage a person employed by public pension institutions.

In addition to the Time Bank, all regions are actively exploring new forms and models to enrich elderly care services: such as the development of smart platforms and their tracking, the improvement of the family doctor service model, that a nurse or doctor checks the elderly at home after they request health service online, create More other technology-based smart elderly care service systems, promote high-quality development related to the care of the elderly and improving the sense of well-being of this group of society.

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