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In a senior-living facility in south Shanghai, a volunteer leads a dozen people in singing and moving their bodies to the rhythms of a song. It’s not an unusual activity for a senior-care centerin the United States. But such specialized housing for the elderly is not widespread in China. And even more unusual, it’s run by a Seattle-based company. The facility, in the Xuhui district of Shanghai, is one of three senior-living facilities in China owned and operated by Cascade Healthcare, which is part of the Seattle-based international health-care business Columbia Pacific Management.  Columbia Pacific was founded by Dan Baty, who also co-founded the Emeritus chain of senior-living facilities in the U.S., which was sold last year.

Cascade Healthcare is one of the first U.S. companies to open senior-living facilities in China. Other U.S. firms testing the market include New York City-based Fortress Investment Group and Seattle-based Merrill Gardens. All provide various levels of care. Facing a rapidly aging population and inadequate infrastructure to meet the projected needs, the Chinese government a few years ago began cutting red tape and costs in an effort to get foreign companies with expertise in the field to open senior-care facilities in the country.

Fortress Investment worked with a Chinese partner to open a residential facility in Shanghai for 200 seniors in 2012. It plans to build another facility nearby that can house . . . . read more

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