Features include interactive map, in-depth stories, and more.Download now. »
The week's top five must-sees,
delivered to your inbox.
LinkAsia | Aug 3
Kim Young-hwan, a South Korean activist who has campaigned extensively for North Korean human rights, was recently released after spending four mon...
Now we all know that China is the most populous country in the world. But did you know that by year 2050, China is expected to have almost 400 million elderly people? That's more than the entire population of the United States. And according to CCTV, China is struggling to find enough nursing homes to meet the growing demand.
It is a dream for many to see the young educated, the sick treated, and the elderly cared for. But as Chinese society ages quickly, is the country ready to look after so many old people? Take Beijing: by 2015, the number of people over 60 will have reached 3.2 million. That is 23 percent of the city's population. According to statistics, nursing homes throughout China can only accomodate 3.15 million people. That is not even 2 percent of the country's elderly, and doesn't even cover the seniors in Beijing. This shortage of homes for pensioners has become a daunting problem.
Yang Yaling, Niujie Senior Nursing Home:
Nowadays, many people work in a different city from where their parents live, or even travel abroad. Especially with the One Child Policy in China, many seniors don't have anyone looking after them. So there are a large number of people wishing to stay in nursing homes. That number is much higher than our accommodating ability.
Beijing Niujie Senior Nursing Home is now home to over 200 pensioners. Niujie is a Muslim neighborhood in Beijing, so many of the seniors living in the home are Muslim Huis.
Li Shuyun, Niujie Senior Nursing Home:
We have set up two praying halls in our nursing home, one for men and one for women. In this way, seniors living here can practice their religion without going outside.
The nursing home also arranges different activities for their residents everyday, like cultural lectures and hands-on activities. Volunteers from various social groups also offer help and visits to the seniors.
Ma Minhui, 84-year-old Retired Teacher:
I have been living here for almost four years. It's very different from home, because no matter how luxurious your home is, you don't know any of your neighbors. But living in the nursing home, everyone calls me grandma and greets me warmly. I don't feel lonely.
In China, nursing homes are divided into two kinds: public and private. Public senior lodging homes are more common, but are harder to get into. The private nursing homes, on the other hand, are easy to get into, but are often very expensive. Facing such dilemmas, care in the community may be a way to tackle the problem.
Beijing has planned an in-home old age care system. By 2020, 90 percent of senior residents will receive care at home. Sixty percent will receive care from their neighborhood, while four percent will stay in nursing homes. So this plan calls for more local volunteers to help with seniors.
Jiang Nan, Beijing:
If you wish to become a volunteer for the seniors, you can simply check with your neighborhood committee to see if there are any positions available. By promoting neighborhood volunteer old-care services, we not only solve the problem of inadequate nursing homes, but also we enable our loved ones to receive special care indoors. Jiang Nan, CCTV, Beijing.
Not all of China's elderly end up in nursing homes. About a quarter of them still live on their own.