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This paper examines the concepts, models, implementation, challenges and successes for good practices in care for people aged 60 or older, with a focus on two award-winning adult day care centers found in a rural and urban setting of China. It is based on a field study that used participant and non-participant observation, key informant interviews and in-depth interviews of the elder members and staff of the centers. Two award-winning adult day care centers for older people were purposively selected for study in 2013-2014: the Home Care facility in Jing’An District, Shanghai, and the Xin Jia Yuan or Spirit Home facility in Chengdu, Sichuan. The study identifies seven attributes of the model centers that help to account for their success. These are service mindedness; regulations and standards; setting; giving priority to the needs of older people; providing appropriate activities; home visits; and sustaining care for older people in the host community. The array and style of activities of a given center vary with the local context and origin of the center. Despite some negative consequences resulting from shrinking family size in China, new benefits may emerge for those communities that work together to assist the older people in their midst. An example is the cadre of volunteers who conduct home visits to those who are confined to their homes. The elements of the two successful adult day care centers can be applied as a model for building a system of care for older people that achieves full coverage and quality of life for all.
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