As people reach the age of 75, canes and wheelchairs become the seniors' best friends. Frequent outings may not be as feasible for some people at this age.
Home, as the place where seniors spend most of their time, plays a critical role in their overall well-being. A considerate home service can make daily tasks easier, and a functionally diverse and safe interior design can make seniors' lives more sustainable in their home space.
Welcome to the third article of Silver Economy Series. In this article, we will discuss the current situation of home care industries and China's interior design for seniors to give you insights into potential business opportunities.
If you missed our previous two articles, you can find them here:
BUZZWORDS | Silver Economy - Food & Nutrition, Smart Healthcare & Assistive Technology
BUZZWORDS | Silver Economy - Education, Matchmaking & Tourism
Chinese value the "face" a lot, which means they tend to prefer jobs that allow them to maintain their dignity. However, seniors home care, which involves dealing with excrement and urine on a daily basis, is often misunderstood as a low-paying and dead-end industry. This has led to discrimination against seniors who need care, and makes it tough for young people to see it as a promising career path.
The lack of regulation and professional standards in the industry results in poor service, chaotic fees. In return, the poor service make the low-income of senior home care seem reasonable. Young people would not join such an industry since they need a clear career paths and decent salary. As a result, seniors home care has remained outdated and unprofessional in China.
▲ Image via @央视网
The caregiver who was sentenced to 8 months in prison used to forcefully throw the senior from the wheelchair onto the bed
▲ Image via @央视网
The caregiver wiped the senior's mouth with a used urine pad
But with China's aging population, the demand for senior home care is only going to increase over the next few decades. There will be a lot more demand for specialized services like medical care, rehabilitation, and psychological counseling, so it's actually an industry that badly needs young blood that specialise in medicine, nutrition, psychology, and psychiatry.
Home care industries in developed countries are more established, like in the UK and the US. Students in Norland College, the top UK university in training elite nannies, have to learn all kinds of skills - basic nursing and health knowledge. They also learn martial arts, how to prevent employers from being kidnapped, how to coordinate employer family disputes, and how to deal with sexual harassment. In the United States, nearly a thousand universities have home care departments that can train graduate and doctoral students, making the seniors home care industry more professionaland younger.
▲ Image via @WDTV
Britain's modern-day nannies learning defense against terrorism
What can be done to attract more young people to senior home care in China? It's not just about the government's support, but also about companies providing skills training, creating clearer career paths, and increasing salaries to attract young people. One thing we have to notice is that young people may not be joining the industry simply because they are not familiar with the lifestyle and needs of the seniors. Traditional advertising methods may not be effective in reaching out to young people.
Today, some home care teams have realized this and are expanding their business through social media, posting funny content related to the seniors' lifestyle, household tips, and nutrition suggestion to attract young people and interest in the industry, thus increasing awareness and involvement.
▲ Image via @马俐管家
A young home cleaning team with exceptional skills specializes in cleaning extremely unclean living spaces for their clients. Their Bilibili videos showcasing their expertise have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on average
As we are seeing a trend that young people are engaging in China's senior care, Double V. Consulting believes that it is a great opportunity for overseas home care training and service providers, home equipment manufacturers, and information technology businesses who are looking to expand their market in China. They can collaborate to provide better training and services, develop and manufacture high-quality home care equipment, and implement cutting-edge technology to enhance the overall home care experience and create a more comprehensive home care ecosystem that benefits both seniors and caregivers.
In China, a considerable number of seniors do not reside in homes that are suitable for them. These homes may have layout problems, incomplete facilities, or issues with aging materials that are not environmentally safe, which could result in slips and falls, injuries, falling from high places, fires caused by old electrical wiring, leukemia, and other problems.
According to the 2022 Report on Aging-Friendly Homes in China and Future Trends, a survey of seniors or young people with seniors in their homes found that 81% of respondents reported that their living spaces had floors that were too smooth or uneven, making them prone to falling. 47% of people said there were no handrails at home, 44% said that the toilet and bathroom were not convenient for them to use, 43% of respondents hoped that their homes could be equipped with a call-for-help alarm, 33% said their homes were poorly lit and ventilated, and 18% thought their homes were too small. It can be seen that the home decoration industry in China mainly targets young people's aesthetics, safety, and convenience, with inadequate consideration for seniors, and the industry's aging-friendly design is not yet sound.
▲ Video via 任芳颉 (大公网)
The living environment of a 90-year-old disabled solitary senior
In China, aging-friendly renovation is mainly purchased by the government rather than individuals. Seniors have weak awareness of aging-friendly home renovation and consider it an unnecessary expense compared to regular home renovations. Furthermore, there are no specialized departments to study and standardize home renovation services, smart healthcare devices, and assistive technology, resulting in slow and non-scalable development of aging-friendly home decoration in the industry.
In contrast, developed countries that entered an aging society earlier have more humane considerations for seniors' special needs and offer a more diversified range of product offerings. From floors to walls, from bathrooms to stairs, even small details such as door handles and outlets have designs tailored to seniors.
▲ Image via @Kohler
Unlike bathtubs with a high 7-inch threshold, Kohler's Walk-in bath with a low-step-in enables seniors to enter and exit the tub effortlessly and feel secure every time they bathe
▲ Image via @Handicare
A Swedish brand, has designed a curved staircase for people with disabilities to assist them in using the stairs.
It's exciting to see some Chinese home renovation shows are sparking interest in age-friendly home improvements, with influencers sharing examples of these projects on social media.
▲ Image via @HY空间设计工作室 (Xiaohongshu)
A user renovated an old rural house
This trend is driving conscious customers to purchase age-friendly furniture, kitchenware, assistive devices, and interior design services, offering an opportunity for overseas brands with advanced age-friendly concepts to enter the Chinese market.
If you're looking to enter the Chinese market, Double V. Consulting provides tailored market research, brand promotion strategies, and operational services to help you efficiently connect with your ideal customers in China!