As its population is rapidly aging, elderly in China are in need of adequate care. “The traditional concept of elderly being taken care of their children or by paid caregivers will fall short. China needs affordable and high quality in- and out-of-home nursing by well-trained people”, says Anne Marie Buch of Nightingale Care in Beijing.
Buch, of Danish nationality, is a Doctor at International SOS Beijing. Many visits to nursing homes for senior citizens in China have led her to believe there is a market for good, locally anchored nursing homes, with well-trained nurses. As part of a private project – and mission – Buch is in the process of developing an elder care concept that consists of Nightingale Care nursing homes and a Nightingale Academy. Here, both nurses and paid caregivers (also known as ‘a yi’s’) can receive proper training to provide good and respectful care to the elderly in China that are too old, handicapped or ill to take care of themselves.
Care by family members and ‘a yi’s’
The numbers speak for themselves. In China, 12 percent of the population is over 60 years old. This number is rapidly going up, with 20 percent of the Chinese being over 60 in 2030, adding up to 230 million elderly citizens. Buch explains: “Most of the elder care in China is performed by family members. In China, you are considered a good person if you take care of your parents. Many people hire someone to take care of their parents, an ‘a yi’. Almost always this person and the children lack training in terms of geriatrics and gerontology. There are nursing homes, but their care is either too basic or too expensive.”
Large apartment buildings
With the help of investors, she wants to offer ‘Scandinavian Standard’ elder care. “This is quite different from what many real estate companies currently offer as an answer to China’s aging problem. They build large apartment buildings for old people to live in, but that is not a durable solution.”
The alternative would be small-scale nursing home in the heart of the large cities, offering facilities to nurse elderly residents, as well as day care activities for people living alone or with their (working) children. “The concept is local, good quality and affordable care. Within the home, a Nightingale Academy can train both the home’s nurses, as well as ‘a yi’s’ and people that care for their parents on a daily base.”
‘Angel investors’ needed
The ‘Scandinavian Standard’ elderly care concept Anne Marie Buch is working on with the help of Beijing 1421 Business Consulting, needs ‘angel investors’ for the first and next steps: a franchise concept that can be a vehicle to which rapidly a chain of nursing homes can be established. “The knowledge is spread by Nightingale Consulting that offers the introduction and development of our elderly care concept to small, medium and large nursing homes. First in the Beijing area, later in all parts of China, with the ‘Nightingale Care’ quality in common. Nightingale will help franchises to build up a sound ground, including training high standards caregivers and establishing a mature system as well as supervising its operation. Franchise share the same value and keep the high standards of Nightingale.”