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Facing ageing issues, how should China provide for seniors?

By Pan Xiaotian (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

09:23, March 18, 2012

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

"Being old before being rich is a main characteristic of the aging issue in China." The spokesman for the fifth session of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Zhao Qizheng said, China entered the old-age society when China's per capita GDP was 3,000 U.S. dollars, but other countries usually enter this stage with per capita GDP of 10,000 U.S. dollars.

How should China solve its issue of providing for the aged? The government work report of 2012 says that China should accelerate improving and perfecting its social security system and actively develop its cause of providing for the aged. Experts suggest that China should establish a diversified and multi-level comprehensive network to provide for the aged.

"It is really hard to find a proper rest home in Beijing for my father." Recently, Ms. Feng was bothered by a problem: Her father is more than 80-year old who needs cares. Since the price for a berth in a rest home is not high, she plans to find one for her father. However, after she went to many places, she found that the living conditions of rest homes with spare beds were usually not good while the rest homes with relatively good conditions all had long queues of applicants waiting.

Mr. Cui living in Guangzhou also had such a problem. Therefore, he went to private-owned rest homes, but what he found was also disappointing. "The environment is good, but the traffic is not convenient and the charge is very high." Mr. Cui said that, before moving into a private rest home for the aged, you must first pay a sum of money, usually 5,000 yuan, at one stroke, and then, if other charging items, including the monthly rent of the bed, nursing and diet. You have to pay at least 10,000 yuan to be accepted. Then, thousands of yuan must also be paid monthly. For ordinary salary families like his, it is almost unaffordable.

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McKechnie at 2012-03-2964.231.163.*
I believe that China should use the societal model in the film "Logan"s Run". When people reach the age of thirty they should be terminated. No more problems with seniors. Win win situation.
Canada at 2012-03-1870.36.49.*
The problem with private-owned rest homes is when profit is added on top of cost, it makes it unaffordable for many people, and often a company is more interested in increasing their profit than providing care. Non-profit organizations providing care would be more affordable.Most people would likely prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Consideration could be given to having health care workers assess a senior"s needs, discuss it with family members, and then provide the level of care needed in the senior"s home. Example: meals could be delivered, or groceries ordered online and delivered, someone could come in and clean the home once a week, a nurse or other trained worker could administer medicine if required or help the senior bathe, transportation could be arranged for medical appointments. This may be much less expensive than rest homes.
Liu Yigang at 2012-03-18220.255.2.*
China has to be very careful with its social security system. It should integrate private and public elements into its social security net such as its healthcare system in order to create a financially sustainable model in the long run. This will be especially important when China"s retired population becomes larger than its workforce. If it follows the western model of welfare system where healthcare is totally free, the Chinese populace may have to face high tax rates, rising government expenditure, an inefficient healthcare system and other social problems. A private and public healthcare mix like the one in Singapore (CPF and Medisave) will help to keep taxes low and keep the Chinese economy globally competitive. Most importantly, a private and public hybrid will be more cost efficient than a fully subsidized healthcare system. Just look at US and European models to see that their models are becoming more and more unsustainable.
  

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