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ALFA Delegation Travels to China

Invited by Chinese business groups, ALFA Past Chairman of the Board Steven Vick and ALFA President/CEO Richard Grimes represented ALFA and assisted living at a Beijing conference last week focused on China’s growing challenges surrounding its aging population and seniors housing.

Rick grimes and steven vickVick, CEO and Co-Founder of Irving, Texas-based Signature Senior Living, made a keynote presentation about the U.S. market and the assisted living philosophy of care to central government officials, investors, and other business interests. Grimes spoke about the Assisted Living Federation of America and its role in helping to raise the bar for excellence and its advocacy efforts in support of senior living companies that provide a resident-centered quality of life for America’s frail elderly population.

With an enormous population – 1.4 billion Chinese people compared with a U.S. population of 300 million – the country is only beginning to face the growing needs of their aging population. Following the conference, Vick and Grimes participated in numerous meetings with officials and investors. According to ALFA’s Chinese hosts, at least one plan in the works is to build several large assisted living communities in the greater Beijing area.


There are several economic and social factors at work in China that, thus far, have led to China’s increasing interest in assisted living:

  • The mandatory retirement age in China is 60 for men and 55 for women. This policy is intended to create employment opportunities for younger workers but leaves large numbers of otherwise productive and healthy people unemployed and unproductive.

  • Chinese culture supports the notion that families stay together. That is, the elderly should live at home with their adult children or, at least, the adult children should take care of their parents. However, many families are feeling the pinch of small Beijing apartments when perhaps both sets of parents and grandparents move in.

  • The government’s one-child-only policy, developed originally to control the growth of the population, is now catching up with unintended consequences. Unlike the more typical family in the United States, there are no siblings to share the financial responsibilities and emotional challenges. Euphemistically, it is called “4-2-1”, i.e., one adult child has two aging parents and four aging grandparents!

  • In the United States, wealth often exists in the older, established population (through savings, retirement plans, home ownership, other assets). In China, it is upside down. Young people control most of the wealth since in the past 20 years or so, the Central Government has allowed capitalism and communism to co-exist. This has fueled great economic growth by unleashing the “inner” entrepreneur among young people. However, they must now care for their more economically challenged parents and grandparents.

  • Lastly, like the population in the United States, the Chinese are living longer, are healthier, and the need for senior housing and care is growing.

“It was a privilege to represent ALFA and the great work of our members. It was especially wonderful to team with Steven Vick, a pioneer in assisted living and former ALFA Chairman of the Board,” said Grimes. The ALFA delegation reciprocated the hospitality by inviting a delegation from China to the 2010 ALFA Conference and Expo to be held in Phoenix, May 25-27.


To see photos of the ALFA delegation to China, visit ALFA’s Flickr feed.



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Invited by Chinese business groups, ALFA Past Chairman of the Board Steven Vick and ALFA President/CEO Richard Grimes represented ALFA and assisted living at a Beijing conference last week focused on China’s growing challenges surrounding its aging population and seniors housing.

Rick grimes and steven vickVick, CEO and Co-Founder of Irving, Texas-based Signature Senior Living, made a keynote presentation about the U.S. market and the assisted living philosophy of care to central government officials, investors, and other business interests. Grimes spoke about the Assisted Living Federation of America and its role in helping to raise the bar for excellence and its advocacy efforts in support of senior living companies that provide a resident-centered quality of life for America’s frail elderly population.

With an enormous population – 1.4 billion Chinese people compared with a U.S. population of 300 million – the country is only beginning to face the growing needs of their aging population. Following the conference, Vick and Grimes participated in numerous meetings with officials and investors. According to ALFA’s Chinese hosts, at least one plan in the works is to build several large assisted living communities in the greater Beijing area.


There are several economic and social factors at work in China that, thus far, have led to China’s increasing interest in assisted living:

  • The mandatory retirement age in China is 60 for men and 55 for women. This policy is intended to create employment opportunities for younger workers but leaves large numbers of otherwise productive and healthy people unemployed and unproductive.

  • Chinese culture supports the notion that families stay together. That is, the elderly should live at home with their adult children or, at least, the adult children should take care of their parents. However, many families are feeling the pinch of small Beijing apartments when perhaps both sets of parents and grandparents move in.

  • The government’s one-child-only policy, developed originally to control the growth of the population, is now catching up with unintended consequences. Unlike the more typical family in the United States, there are no siblings to share the financial responsibilities and emotional challenges. Euphemistically, it is called “4-2-1”, i.e., one adult child has two aging parents and four aging grandparents!

  • In the United States, wealth often exists in the older, established population (through savings, retirement plans, home ownership, other assets). In China, it is upside down. Young people control most of the wealth since in the past 20 years or so, the Central Government has allowed capitalism and communism to co-exist. This has fueled great economic growth by unleashing the “inner” entrepreneur among young people. However, they must now care for their more economically challenged parents and grandparents.

  • Lastly, like the population in the United States, the Chinese are living longer, are healthier, and the need for senior housing and care is growing.

“It was a privilege to represent ALFA and the great work of our members. It was especially wonderful to team with Steven Vick, a pioneer in assisted living and former ALFA Chairman of the Board,” said Grimes. The ALFA delegation reciprocated the hospitality by inviting a delegation from China to the 2010 ALFA Conference and Expo to be held in Phoenix, May 25-27.


To see photos of the ALFA delegation to China, visit ALFA’s Flickr feed.



View more ALFA Update articles!

Feedback

Other Resources


ALFA exchange



04/19/2010


Resources