Time Bank is a government initiative that is making waves among the Nanjing elderly community, whereby it allows volunteers to store their service time and in the future use such to exchange it for money, food or assistance.
The head of the Nanjing Civil Affairs Bureau told the People’s Daily that the total number of elderly people over 60 years old in Nanjing is 1 million 343 thousand, accounting for 20.1 percent of the registered population, of whom 195,000 are disabled or semi-disabled. There are now 38 pension time banks in the city of Nanjing, with more than 5,000 volunteers.
In 2005, Nanjing began trying out Time Bank models, aiming at mobilising the more “youthful” and healthy elderly to care for the older members of the community with reduced mobility. The Time Bank is said to have solved the “problem of insufficient manpower in home care”, while “greatly alleviating the pressure on the government purchase of services” and ensuring home care services remain in place. There are now 375 volunteers, more than 90 percent of whom aged 55 to 65, and each volunteer helps 5 elderly people.