About half of Nanjing's population aged over 80 who live alone are set to receive daily care by the end of the year.
The local government in the capital of East China's Jiangsu Province is setting aside 2 million yuan (US$250,000) to hire workers to support the vulnerable group.
They will work for 2 hours a day to help elderly people in their homes.
Zhang Liangli, dean of the Nanjing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau, said: "More than 500 people aged over 80 are already enjoying the service, and the number is expected to reach 2,500, almost half of the total number, by the end of this year," said Zhang.
According to Zhang, besides this 2-hour daily service, a new emergency alarm system is being established in the homes of elderly people to ensure they can call for help when care workers are not there.
Two large care homes, designed for elderly people who have no children to look after them, are also to be built.
"It is a traditional virtue of our country that the children should enable their seniors to enjoy a happy late life. We will do our best to satisfy them," said Zhang.
Liang Hongying, a 93-year-old grandmother in Baixia District, is among those benefiting from the new service.
"I had always felt deserted while sitting alone in my chilly house. But now the hourly worker has brought me much joy as she comes every day, talking with me and helping me," said Liang.
A survey conducted by Nanjing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau in January showed that 56 per cent of people in Nanjing aged 65 or over lived by themselves, and 70 per cent of them wanted society to help them in their later years.
The increasing number of childless elderly people in Nanjing is a problem mirrored in cities cross the country.
A survey conducted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs last year showed that those who are childless or do not live with their children make up 25.8 per cent of the total elderly population.
"This situation has posed a great challenge to the traditional framework of children supporting their elderly parents," said Zhang.
A report released by the ministry last September showed that China had 7,655 organizations, with about 24,000 employees, providing services specifically for elderly people.
But experts said the older people needed more organizations offering support.
Source: China Daily