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A community centre within a community

The front of the community centre.

Late last year, when I went to Guangzhou, China, to speak at an ageing forum there, I visited Poly Garden’s community centre for seniors, which was launched in July 2015. It is membership-based and available for women from 55 and over, and men 60 and over.

The sign at the front of the centre.

It is open to the public as well as residents in the Poly Garden residential community, where the centre is located. According to officials, there are 5,000 families in the residential community, which was built over 10 years ago, and they are in an area where families are viewed as important.

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Community-based health and aged care in China

The population of China is currently 1.34 billion, which represents almost one-fifth of the world’s population. Over the period 2010 to 2065, it is estimated the proportion of people aged 65 years and over will increase from nine percent to 30 percent. In order to improve equity and financial sustainability, China is undergoing rapid health and aged care system reforms in response to its ageing population and rapid increases in the number of people with chronic diseases.


Innovative programme

Health system reforms include establishing a stronger primary healthcare system that incorporates patient-centred care and chronic disease self-management principles. A recent innovative programme has been introduced in Beijing, China, to help older people with diabetes to manage their illness. Called the “Happy Life Club”, it utilises health coaches trained in behavioural change and counselling principles to address the management of diabetes in older people in primary care settings in China. These coaches support participants to improve modifiable risk factors and adhere to effective self-management treatments associated with diabetes. This type of approach is popular with both health practitioners and older people.

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