Time Bank program to assist Shanghai elderly
Hongkou District in Shanghai has rolled out an assistance initiative called Time Bank to better look after elderly people, allowing volunteers to receive back the same amount of time they provide in service to others.
Local authorities heawill publicize the need for volunteers on the popular social networking app WeChat to help in services such as accompanying a cancer survivor to go to hospital for chemo on a certain day.
Volunteers will take on a task after receiving a request on WeChat, completing the service later as specified. The volunteer’s time helping will be recorded and added up by local authorities. When volunteers themselves later need help, they are entitled to enjoy services of equal time length.
An official from the Civil Affairs Bureau of Hongkou District said Time Bank is now operational in two subdistricts and one elderly care center.
Healthy retirees in the district – men 60 to 70 years old or women 50 to 70 years of age –can apply to become members of the program. After they provide 100 hours of voluntary service, or after one year, they are eligible to exchange those hours for services they need.
Li Weibo, 68, said the initiative will attract more volunteers to provide elderly care services. Li visits his mother in a nursing home almost every day and he also teaches tai chi to aged people in the facility.
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