Special services offered to make new technologies accessible to seniors
China has been addressing the needs of its graying population by improving the quality of life for the elderly and protecting their dignity to boost healthy economic development and social stability.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council released a guideline early last month on improving health services for the elderly and building an elderly-friendly society.
The guideline augmented a State-level plan on the aging population released in 2019.
"We should keep a positive attitude to the aging problem," Wang Jianjun, a National Health Commission official, said at a news conference on Thursday.
"Getting old is an important period in a person's life, when people can still make contributions to society and have the right to be happy."
To help the elderly better integrate in modern society and its widespread use of information technology and artificial intelligence, special services have been offered to make such technology more accessible.
He Yaqiong, director for the customer goods industry at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told the news conference the ministry has developed a phone service for elderly people who have problems using web-based features on smartphones.
The "one-click call" service, specifically designed for those aged over 65, was launched in December last year. They can get direct access to a human service provider by calling the customer service number.
He said the service has proved popular, with over 70 million elderly people having used it so far.
He said that the ministry has also made a text message health code to facilitate trips by the elderly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've found that it's difficult for senior citizens to use high-tech products like smartphones, so we require the companies and their employees to treat senior customers nicely and gently, like their own parents," He said.
"As long as we teach them with patience and love, they can also enjoy smart devices, the same as young people."
The government will also channel more resources into taking care of elderly people in rural areas, including "empty nesters" and those unable to take care of themselves.
Li Banghua, deputy director of endowment services at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told the news conference the ministry has explored some new methods to help elderly people in rural areas, including encouraging younger ones to nurse older ones and improving living conditions in rural nursing homes.
"Elderly empty nesters living in the countryside are recognized as a key group in our work," he said.
"We hope that they enjoy a good, safe life, even though their children can't be with them."