TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Construction of Taiwan's first geriatric hospital is underway, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the building on Sunday (Oct. 24), with blessings given by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Taiwan is projected to become a superannuated society where at least 20% of the population is 65 or older by 2025. This is due mainly to a falling birth rate, which outpaced the death rate for the first time in 2020. Calls for a comprehensive reform of geriatric care and health services are ongoing.
National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan is building the country's first geriatric facility aimed at mitigating the impact of the "super-ageing" crisis. The facility aims to cater to the physical and mental health of the elderly more efficiently with the assistance of advanced information and communication technologies.
Services are expected to commence in 2025, rather than 2022 as had been planned. This is due to strong construction demand and labor shortages in the city.
At Sunday's event, President Tsai described the geriatric hospital as a role model for the country's development of eldercare facilities. She also thanked the NCKU-affiliated hospital for taking the initiative to set a model for healthcare providers.
"It will be a great model that aligns qualified manpower and smart technologies to serve seniors with different needs in different locations — hospital, nursing home, community, or apartment."
NCKU President Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞) said the new geriatric hospital is building a brand-new eldercare ecosystem. This integrates the innovative solutions invented by various academies of the school, including its College of Engineering, College of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, and College of Planning and Design, as well as by companies residing in the Southern Taiwan Science Park.
"The geriatric hospital addresses the government 'Greater South' initiative designed to reduce the north-south divide, defining itself as a pivotal and pioneering space in southern Taiwan to carry out different smart healthcare applications that lead to a healthcare industry upgrade and drive growth momentum for the region," Su commented.
President Tsai Ing-wen (sixth from left) attends a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, Oct 24, 2021, along with NCKU President Su Huey-en (fifth from left) and NCKUH Superintendent Shen Meng-ru (third from left). (NCKU photo)