|Xu Yunxiang and Zhao Damei do needle work together at the social welfare home in the Pudong New Area in eastern China's Shanghai Municipality on November 30, 2013. They have been married for over 80 years and currently live a happy life at the welfare home. [Xinhua]|
Statistics from the China National Committee on Aging (CNCA) show that the number of Chinese citizens over the age of 60 is expected to hit 200 million by the end of 2013 and 221 million in 2015, including 51 million 'empty nesters,' or elderly people whose children no longer live with them. The number is predicted to skyrocket to 487 million, or 35 percent of the population, by 2053.
Experts have urged authorities to draw experience from developed countries in order to reduce uncertainties and risks in this matter. They also recommend improving economic and health support for senior citizens, building more facilities for senior residents in both urban and rural areas, encouraging them to participate in social activities and establishing a medical treatment network for the ageing population.
A series of activities to improve the living conditions of senior citizens and raise public awareness of the importance of respecting them has been held each October, the National Senior Citizens Month, since 2010.
Earlier this year, the CNCA released a notice announcing that October 13 this year will be the first official festival in China to celebrate the elderly. The date will change in subsequent years as it will be based on the traditional Chinese Double Ninth Festival, which falls on the ninth day of the ninth month according to the lunar calendar.
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