Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny    20 / 5   City Forecast

People's Daily Online>>China Society

China faces daunting elderly care challenge

(Xinhua)

14:57, March 26, 2012

BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Tens of millions of Chinese families are struggling to take care of their elderly relatives, according to a recent report in Health News, a newspaper affiliated with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

"At least tens of millions of households are having difficulties with elderly care," Wu Yushao, vice director of the China National Committee on Aging, was quoted as saying.

Wu made the remark at a symposium held by the MOH to explore the possibility of establishing a long-term elderly care system in China.

"While a long-term care system is a common strategy to cope with an aging population, such a system has yet to be put in place in China," the paper commented.

In China, children traditionally take on the responsibility of caring for their relatives as they enter their twilight years. However, this practice has become increasingly difficult for many in recent years.

"Long-term care was not in question in the past because families used to have more than one child. However, with more and more single-child households, it has become impractical for families to take care of their elderly members," Wu said.

China is expected to support 40 million disabled or care-dependant elderly people by 2015, according to an official estimate cited by Health News.

At of the end of 2010, the number of partially- and fully-disabled elderly people amounted to 33 million, or 19 percent of the total aged population. The number of people over the age of 80 swelled from 4 million in 2000 to 18.9 million in 2009, a 25-percent increase.

In contrast, a sharp decrease in the total number of households and the rise of "empty nest" families have made it difficult to provide adequate care for the expanding elderly population.

Official statistics state that the average household size shrank from 4.4 people in 1982 to 3.13 people in 2005. "Empty nest" households, or those in which elderly relatives are left to take care of themselves, are estimated to account for more than 50 percent of the total number of households.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:张茜)

Related Reading

Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

Ron at 2012-03-2760.18.110.*
China can"t print enough yuan to take care of all of the elderly. There will be a 5 year plan and then more 5 year plans. Even if nursing homes for all of these elderly could be built, you have to have a system to make sure that the elderly are not warehoused in deplorable conditions for profit
  

Selections for you


  1. Lee Myung-bak greets Nuclear Security Summit leaders

  2. Asian business aviation exhibition to kick off in Shanghai

  3. Foreign students perform Huangmei Opera

  4. Photograph the world from a droplet of water

Most Popular

Opinions

  1. Keep talking, Hu urges
  2. US' human rights violations
  3. Leung wins Hong Kong election by wide margin
  4. China yet to be a sea power
  5. Prevent nuclear terrorism
  6. Conditions needed for Annan's peace mission
  7. Will Syria crisis be transformed into an opportunity?
  8. Chinese economy will not suffer a hard landing
  9. Monk move in Nansha Islands new ploy by Vietnam
  10. Protectionism cannot save U.S. auto industry

What's happening in China

Foreign students perform Chinese traditional opera

  1. Relief funds allocated for quake-hit Xinjiang
  2. China Life net profit plunges 45.5 pct in 2011
  3. Panda census begins in NW China province
  4. China blames cover-up for mining rescue delay
  5. Draft regulation adds anti-smoking measures

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai