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China sees growing elderly "empty-nesters": official

(Xinhua)

08:21, September 24, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- About 49.7 percent of urban Chinese senior citizens with families live apart from their offspring, an expert on the topic told a symposium on aging on Friday.

Yan Qingchun, deputy director of the National Committee on Aging, added that as more and more farmers go to cities and become migrant workers, the proportion of these "empty-nest" families in rural areas has reached 38.3 percent, and is growing more rapidly than that of urban areas.

Yan's address to the symposium proposed that the seniors attend old folks' homes in places other than their hometown, saying that this new type care can alleviate the loneliness of empty-nest situations.

During its Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), China is working to strengthen institutions for the aged in a bid to reach a target of having 30 beds in such facilities for every 1,000 senior citizens.

In the meantime, laws, regulations and criteria regarding services for the elderly will also be improved, according to Yan.

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