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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Nobody cares for carer's job

By He Dan and Chen Xin (China Daily)

08:44, January 04, 2012

A medical worker checks the blood pressure of an elderly woman with no family at a healthcare service center in Hefei, Anhui province, last September. (Photo/Xinhua)

Three out of every 10 people are over 60 by 2040, but paid help for them is in short supply

BEIJING - China is struggling to provide enough caregivers for the elderly, especially in big cities. Most young migrant workers are reluctant to work as carers, as there is little employment security for them.

Guan Jingpei, an 88-year-old resident in Beijing's Dongcheng district, suffered from hearing and vision loss due to diabetes. He required intensive support on a daily basis.

Guan, who lived with his wife, 78, drew a monthly pension of 3,600 yuan ($572) - his only source of income.

Guan's family offered to pay 1,600 yuan a month to a caregiver, but none of the four candidates interviewed agreed to take the job.

"They all asked for a higher salary, ranging from 2,000 yuan to 2,500 yuan, and one caregiver demanded a single bedroom, which was beyond our means," said Guan's wife on the telephone.

Xu Weijiang, director of Dongcheng district office of the committee on ageing, said nearly 30 percent of the 200,000 senior residents in the district were in need of carers, while less than half enjoyed such services at home.

Labor shortage in providing home care assistance for the old is acute in big cities. There is a shortage of 20,000 to 30,000 helpers to take care of the elderly at home in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, said Li Shulin, deputy director of Wuhan Homemaking Service Industry Association.

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