China Today (English)
Elderly Care More Accessible
The central government has spent RMB 27.1 billion to develop senior care facilities and services since 2012, Civil Affairs Minister Li Jiheng said at a recent press conference. China had 329,000 retirement homes and other long-term aged care facilities last year, and the number of beds in such facilities reached 8.21 million, almost doubling since 2012.
China has 264 million people aged 60 or older, accounting for 18.4 percent of the population, according to the latest national census data. Authorities have projected that one in three Chinese will fall into that age group by midcentury.
Most seniors in China want to spend their old age in a familiar environment, surrounded by family members. With that in mind, the ministry launched pilot programs across the country to explore the possibilities of home-based services during the 2016-20 period. The ministry has also worked on bolstering accessibility of old residential communities, and has required developers to include elderly care facilities in new projects.
During the new Five-year Plan period starting this year, the ministry plans to explore the possibilities of smarter services, elderly care counselors and time banks, which allow people to trade volunteer work for free care services.