China introduces Western-style senior housing

When experts discuss aging populations, they often focus on the U.S. and Canada, but aging is a global phenomenon which is growing everywhere, not just North America.

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times newspaper, a Seattle company is helping to build Western-style assisted living communities in China, a country which has a rapidly expanding elderly demographic. The new facilities will help cater to a large and growing group which may not have many children to take care of them, but may have the financial ability to live in a retirement community.

"We have the financial resources to send them to a nicer place,” 36 year-old Serena Xie, told the news source. She is a senior executive with Cascade Healthcare, which is the first non-Chinese company to have approval from the Chinese government to build a for-profit Western-style retirement community in the country.

Her company will soon begin renovations on a Shanghai hotel, spending $5 million to turn it into a 100-bed senior housing community which will feature typical care, as well as Chinese medicine.

China’s population, according to the country’s recent census, is aging much faster than the United States or Canada, and it’s elderly population will soon create a massive need for senior housing.

"The biggest theme (of the census) was that China is aging much more rapidly than expected,” Kam Wing Chan, a professor at the University of Washington, told the news source.