Caring about the elderly is caring about our own future

Group photo of participants.

From October 16 to 18 the Amity Foundation organized the Amity Senior Service Conference&Elderly Social Work Conference (ASSIC&ESW) in Nanjing. More than 300 experts and scholars from home and abroad discussed the current status of elderly care in China. Topics included latest trends, best practices and policies in the sector including institutional care, community home care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, hospice care as well as education and public awareness on the issues of an aging society.

Opening ceremony of the conference.

The attendance of policy makers and various organizations of the sector made the conference an event for advocacy and for raising awareness for the rights and the care of the elderly in China. More than 20 experts from overseas joined the conference introducing new ideas for the mental well-being. They contributed to an open and relaxed atmosphere during the conference. From the conference, a strong voice went out into the society and to the elderly care industry to improve the quality of service, to optimize the pension system and to improve the lives of the elderly in general.

A relaxed atmosphere during the conference (left). The audience eagerly exchanged and inquired opinions and practices (right).

The conference also offered workshops on how to make sure there is no 'elder abuse' in elder care institutions. After an entire day of discussion, representatives from more than 20 elderly care centers came up with a common pledge that advocates for an ethical and comprehensive service for elderly care. “This represents a breakthrough in perspectives and attitudes towards the elderly and elder care. It emphasizes the need to ensure the dignity and independence of elders”, said Dr Theresa Carino, consultant of the Amity Foundation, who participated in the conference. “Caring about the elderly is caring about our own future”, concludes the statement.

During the conference the Amity Foundation and the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Hospital signed an agreement to cooperate in the future. Amity pledged to set up a management model within the next three years that will ensure comprehensive health care. The conference was co-organized and funded by Amity partners from the Mainland and from overseas including Hong Kong, America, Japan, and Germany. The number of participating institutions is steadily increasing. Next year more than 100 organizations are expected to take part. “I felt that participants, including scholars and practitioners from HK and overseas were inspired and invigorated at the conference”, said Dr Carino.

Guests from overseas emphazised the importance of laughter and happiness for elderly patients as well as for the caregivers.

China is facing a rapidly aging society that poses challenges for China’s society and development. China’s elderly population is expected to grow to 25% by 3030. As an emerging country with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, China is still lacking a comprehensive elderly care system. The Amity Foundation advocates for best practices in elderly care services through conferences, events and by supporting NGOs, associations and churches in providing elderly care services. In Nanjing, the Amity Foundation runs the Philanthropy Valley, which not only includes elderly homes, but also serves as a platform and model to reach out into the communities by involving volunteers, academics and partner organizations.