Blog | Angela Gifford

Care For Older People in China

In the year 2000, 7% of the population of China was over 65 years of age. This equates to 88,110,000 people. By 2010 it had risen to 13% and in 2050 it is expected to rise to 23%.

China has the challenge to build nursing and care systems to address this growing number of older people.

Current nursing home care is mainly sponsored by the Chinese Government but current services vary between urban and rural areas.

In 2001 two Government initiatives were launched for aged care:

  • The Star Light Program
  • The Beloved Care Engineering

The result has been a dramatic increase in both aged care centres and nursing homes.

Staff working in the centres and homes may have received some training but much more needs to be done with reference to standards of care, assessment and further, appropriate training.

Of the large number of older people, at the present time only around 1.5% of older people are living in China’s nursing homes. In 2005 there were only 10 nursing home beds for every 1,000 elderly people who needed them.

The Chinese population structure means that the likelihood of children caring for their older parents (one child policy in urban areas) will become a decreasing option and it is expected that the number of nursing homes will continue to rise exponentially.

From a financial standpoint, the Chinese Government realises that the task of funding care for all its older people will not be sustainable and its current policy is to encourage private and foreign investors to enter the market.

Non-family care has to be paid for and only 15% of older people have pensions.

Poverty is common amongst older people and China has the world’s third highest elderly suicide rate.

Social security systems will need to be put in place as will facilities and services in aged care homes and in the community. Services will need to be innovative, appropriate, provide to acceptable standards and rolled out at an unprecedented rate if China is to cope in the next three decades.

By:  Angela Gifford
Posted:  11 Nov 2011

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