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Comprehensive Elderly Care Initiatives in China - Liza Lin & Stanley James

China will simplify procedures and cut administrative fees for industries related to the elderly as the nation seeks to manage its aging population, Premier Li Keqiang said in a State Council statement yesterday.

The government wants to make it easier for foreign and private investment in sectors for aged-care services and facilities, the Council, the country’s cabinet, said in the statement online, citing Li.

Policy makers are seeking ways to manage the cost of caring for the elderly, with the number of people 60 years or older set to double by 2053. The nation’s one-child policy limited births, increasing the burden on the sole offspring, while migration from farms to cities as the economy expands have separated many parents from their children. Traditionally, children lived with their parents and cared for them in accordance with Confucian teachings.

The number of old-age citizens is fast approaching the 200 million mark in China, the State Council said yesterday. Authorities will cut fees for the elderly in need and set up day-care centers for them, according to yesterday’s statement.

In new residential areas, buildings will need to have facilities catering to elderly residents and the country is seeking to build a comprehensive support network for old-age residents by 2020, the State Council said.

China will also lower barriers of entry to provide nursing, insurance and health care services for older citizens, it said.

The nation, which revised an elderly-care law (on Dec 28th) allowing parents to sue their children for failing to visit, has pledged to improve long-term care and benefits for senior citizens.

Authorities have created an Elderly Day that will be celebrated each year in the fall and have said they’ll boost the number of beds in care facilities to 30 per 1,000 elderly people by 2015, from 20 now.