Care for the elderly worthy of attention
home in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu province, has sought to encourage children to visit their aged parents by offering them 200 yuan ($29) coupons to pay for nursing services if they make at least 30 visits to their parents every two months. The idea is well-intentioned but is unlikely to work in the long run, Chinese Business View commented on Monday.
According to the nursing home, the coupon policy works well for some. But policymakers should be aware that most children treat their parents well. It is not that they do not want to see their parents, but the difficulty they have in finding the time. Especially as many are an only child and they may live and work in places far away from their parents.
In most cases, the elderly parents want to see their children, and the young people would like to see their parents, too.
But many elderly people living in the nursing home also said they do not want to interfere with their children’s work and lives.
The coupons are a good innovation for the nursing home. But they do not fundamentally solve the problem. The coupons are more like a reminder to the children to fulfill their filial duties rather than an encouragement, as the nursing home is an expensive one and families who can afford to send their senior members there are not going to compromise their schedule for a 200-yuan discount.
The family planning policy enforced in the past decades means China will see a sharp decline in its provider-receiver rate in the near future. By 2020, about 20 percent of China’s population will be over 60 years old. By 2050, the proportion is expected to rise to more than 25 percent.
Some places in Beijing, and Anhui, Jiangsu and Henan provinces have introduced a special holiday for employees so that they can go back home to visit their parents. This is a good beginning to tackle the issue, as care for senior citizens is also a social problem that deserves the government’s attention.