By WICHIT CHAITRONG
The long-pursued one-child policy has now left Chinese people with a problem as a growing number of senior citizens have to bank on their only son or daughter to bear the high cost of taking care of their aged parents while also having to provide for their own children.
Private investors see opportunities to provide specialised residential units for ageing people.
The Lake Dian International Health and Retirement Resort in Yunnan province is one of them.
The developer, taking advantage of the relatively pleasant weather in Yunnan, has built residential units targeting senior citizens. The service was launched last year.
Yunnan is reputed to have a year-round spring-like climate with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. The complex includes hospitals, a learning centre, fast food centres, cafeteria, shopping and outdoor space for exercise.
Peng Chenlu, aged 82, moved in one month ago. He now lives with his wife and pays about 6,000 yuan (Bt30,000) per month for rent and other services for two people.
“I come from Hunan province because I like the weather here,” said Peng. “The air is fresh with oxygen and the environment is nice,” he said through a translator, referring to the green surroundings.
He said his son chose this place for him after looking at other places in China. Now, his only son lives in Shenzhen with his family.
“The rent is quite expensive, but I likes the services and enjoy having many friends,” Peng said.
The 85-square-metre room apartment comprises two bedrooms, a living room, restroom and small kitchen.
The developer has installed an emergency alert in the living room in case they need immediate help. The restroom is equipped with holding bars to prevent them from falling.
Peng said he could buy a bowl of noodles for 8 yuan instead of the normal 10 yuan price at the cafeteria. He was citing discount services from the developer. He said he has a lot of friends and is busy all day long, exercising and playing games with friends.
The project can accommodate about 2,336 senior citizens or 1,168 couples.
Asked why each unit has two bedrooms, Sky Litianbao ,manager of the project, said that Chinese couples typically like to sleep alone and an extra bedroom could also accommodate their children when they come to visit their parents.
According to the project’s brochure, room rent plus food, caring, cleaning and other services cost 7,500 yuan per month for a couple or 5,500 yuan for one person.
For those who have a problem walking or need constant caring, the cost is 12,000 yuan per month.
“There are many residential projects for senior citizens in Yunnan, but our project serves high-end clients from all over China,” added Sky.