An hunger for community canteens develops among seniors

One morning last month, a community canteen in Dalian, Liaoning province, was crowded with locals, the most of whom were old. The menu, which featured ten courses, drew them in. On February 22, Fan Ning, 69, visited the canteen at the Haijing community in Jinpu New Area, and stated: “I ordered stir-fried cabbage, pork, and tofu.” It only cost $1.50, or 11 yuan. She continued by saying that she had grown accustomed to walking the ten minutes from her house to the canteen since it opened in September.

 

Fan was thankful for the inexpensive prices and the convenience the canteen provides. She claimed that it was frequently difficult for her to make a healthy lunch for herself at home because her daughter lived outside of Dalian and her husband continued to work. “The canteen has provided a solution by offering a variety of dishes at reasonable prices, saving me the trouble of cooking,” she stated. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, there were around 297 million adults in China who were 60 years of age or older at the end of the previous year, with an additional 217 million being 65 or older.

 

According to National Health Commission survey statistics, over 90% of China’s senior population chooses home care, 7% depend on community care, and 3% are institutionalized. Various levels of government have implemented meal assistance services for the elderly by investigating the construction of facilities such senior canteens, dining tables for the aged, and community canteens, realizing the need of attending to their dining needs. Whatever the nomenclature, the objective is always the same: to make sure senior citizens have affordable, wholesome meals.

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