喘息服务(chuǎnxī fúwù): Respite care
The Fengtai district office for the aged in Beijing recently announced that it will pilot a program of providing "respite care" for those looking after the disabled or the elderly.
Respite programs have been provided in developed countries for a while to give planned short-term and limited-time breaks for families and other unpaid care givers. In general, respite programs provide short-term breaks for families with children or adult that need daily care from other family members, in order to support and maintain the primary care giving relationship.
According to Fengtai's pilot program, the local government will pay for professional nursing workers for four days every month for families that care for disabled elders or elders with dementia, which will provide the family caregivers with a "short break".
Families that qualify for the program can submit an application for respite care to their local neighborhood committees.
The pilot program will ease the burden of care for ordinary families and is an effective way to cope with the challenges of an aging society.