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June 27, 2017

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Cabinet to establish nationwide senior daycare service centers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday was quoted by local media as saying that he set a goal to establish at least one daycare service center for senior citizens in each administrative district across the nation, noting that he already asked the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) to draft the details of his plan.

Jiang said, given that his father suffers from Alzheimer's disease, he is aware of the importance and necessity of care service centers for senior citizens. He further said that he has been pushing daycare service-related policies since he served as interior minister, and now the country has 120 daycare service centers.

The premier said just as parents would choose a kindergarten located near their residence, every administrative district of a city should at least have one daycare service center for seniors.

When asked how to increase the number of care service centers to meet the growing number of senior citizens, instead of offering a direct answer, Jiang said every country has a different culture, so it is not necessary to take Japan or Germany's experiences as references, noting that the key issue is to make senior citizens feel happy and comfortable in the centers.

Groups Call for Change

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) yesterday held a public hearing regarding the draft of the Long-term Service Care bill at the Legislative Yuan, with several groups including the Foundation for the Welfare of the Elderly (中華民國老人福利推動聯盟) and officials of the MHW attending the hearing.

The draft of the bill passed the first reading at the Legislative Yuan, however, it is currently awaiting cross-party negotiations.

During the public hearing, the groups urged the government to work on developing preventive care and community-based care services for senior citizens rather than encouraging medicalization and institutionalization in the country.

Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴), secretary-general of the Foundation for the Welfare of the Elderly, said lack of funds is a severe setback in promoting long-term care service, and as a result, the number of care service providers is not enough.

Liu Yu-hsiu, convener of the Universal Care Policy Alliance, said the government has been distributing resources to seniors with severe medical conditions, but lacks focus on services that can prevent or delay the onset of such conditions. Such preventive measures, including community participation, could lead to healthy and independent lives for seniors, Liu added.

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