NPR: Senior Housing for China’s Elderly Poses Challenges for U.S. Providers

Cascade Health Care, a joint venture recently formed by Columbia Pacific and Emeritus Corporation, garnered NPR’s attention as the first foreign investor authorized to open an assisted living in Shanghai, China, but the country’s demand for senior housing must be met with affordable supply.

“Definitely the demand is there in terms of the number of elderly people in need of care,” but this need has another aspect: how much people are able and willing to pay, Karen Eggleston, director of Stanford’s Asia Health Policy Program, told NPR in a four-minute radio segment.

“One of the main challenges will be figuring out how to deliver quality, reliable senior care,” she said. And, if American providers want to get into any large share of the market, they’ll have to learn how to deliver it at a lower price point, she added.


In general, Cascade and other American businesses will have to educate consumers before they can carve a niche in the Chinese market, says NPR, since the country doesn’t have a tradition of long-term senior care.

The concept for the joint venture’s facility is American, but the specifics will be customized to China, says NPR. For example, instead of bingo, residents will play Mahjongg.

And while methods and practices for senior care will be according to the U.S. standard, Chinese food and medicine will be incorporated into the program, Serena Xie, managing director of Cascade Healthcare, told NPR.


The facility is supposed to open next spring, and Xie said there’s a big demand for senior housing in China, where the wait for a bed could be up to two years. She added that the “dearth” of elder care options will only get worse as the number of seniors rises.

Go here to listen to the NPR segment.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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