Shandong strives to ease life for seniors
By ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan| (China Daily)| Updated : 2021-07-13Print Print
As the province with the highest number of people aged 60 and older, Shandong has developed a series of supportive services to make life for older adults easier and more convenient.
Liang Guangzeng, a resident in Jinan, capital of Shandong, enjoys the services.
The 70-year-old said all the problems he encountered when he recently took a flight from Jinan International Airport have been resolved thanks to a smart system specially developed by the airport.
"I needed to fill out some forms and sign my name before entering the airport, as checks are stringent due to efforts to prevent and control COVID-19. But now, all the information I needed to fill out the forms is read automatically by the smart system after I swipe my ID card," he said.
Liang said he no longer needs to look for his health code－a program that includes a person's COVID-19 status－on his phone, which used to take him several minutes.
The health code verification system jointly developed by Jinan airport, the city's health commission and big data bureau is able to read health codes automatically after passengers swipe their ID cards.
"It takes two seconds for each passenger to enter an airport. It's convenient for elderly people, especially those who don't use smartphones," said Xu Xiaokun, a senior engineer at the information management department of the Shandong Airport Management Group.
Shandong had more than 21.2 million people aged 60 and older last year, accounting for 20.9 percent of its permanent residents, according to the seventh national population census.
To improve social security, elder care services have been one of the main tasks of the provincial government.
The province has launched preferential policies to ease older people's lives, including free travel on public buses and subways, free tickets to scenic spots and expedited medical treatment.
People aged 60 and older who are either permanent residents of Shandong or coming for a short visit can use public transportation in any provincial city for free as of January.
Further, from June 8 to June 7 next year, residents of Jining who are at least 65 can take two free domestic flights per year from Jining Qufu Airport during non-holiday periods, the city's civil aviation development center said on June 18.
The initiative is part of the city's efforts to care for seniors, said Wang Dongchun, the center's deputy director.
In addition, family members who accompany older passengers qualify for a 10 percent discount.
Shandong is the birthplace of Confucius, and its people are known for their devotion to caring for older adults, said Zhang Liansan, deputy director of the general office of the provincial government.
"The province will continue to make efforts to provide better services for the elderly," he said.
Shandong will create multiple ways to provide quality services for seniors and boost the development of the elder healthcare industry, according to the province's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and 2035 long-term development goals.