In 2014 UC Leuven-Limburg in Belgium and the Red Cross Society (China) – Business Development Centre co-organised an intensive training programme in ‘Elderly Care’ for practitioners and lecturers of the Chengde Nursing Vocational College and the Shanghai Institute of Health Sciences.
The growing number of elderly people, as acknowledged by the European Union and the World Health Organisation, is one of the major universal social challenges, inextricably bound with a rising demand for elderly care. While this ageing trend started in the developed world, many so-called developing countries are noticing changes in their demographic pyramid as well and it is now a global phenomenon. In industrial countries, the share of those aged 60 and over has risen to 22% and is expected to reach 32% (418 million) by 2050.
In developing countries, the share of those aged 60 and over has risen to 9% and is expected to reach 20% (1.6 billion) by 2050. The pace of this change means that developing countries will have a much briefer period to adjust and establish the infrastructure and policies necessary to meet the needs of their rapidly shifting demographics. One of the first countries to notice these changes was China.
Hence UC Leuven-Limburg offered a tailored 3-month Sino-European Training Programme for high-end Elderly Care staff in Flanders, Belgium. This was carried out in collaboration with the Business Development Centre (BDC) of the Red Cross Society of China for the purpose of raising the level of specialization of the elderly care service industry, cultivating professional, internationalized practitioners, and facilitating the integration of China’s elderly care service industry with that of Europe.
Despite cultural differences and differences in the way our partners finance and organize care, we succeeded to offer a high-level training programme for professional elderly care and managing personnel. Motivated by this positive experience we want to launch our interdisciplinary programme for different countries, to train future oriented health care professionals in Elderly Care.