China's elderly population has been increasing rapidly and is estimated to hit around 400 million by the end of 2035, according to experts.
Since China became an "aging society" in 2000, the elderly population has seen an annual increase of about 10 million people, Zheng Gongcheng, head of the China Association of Social Security (CAOSS), said at a forum held at the weekend in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province.
By the end of 2035, the elderly population could reach about 400 million, making China a "super aging society."
By international standards, a country or region is considered to be an "aging society" when those aged 65 or over account for 7 to 14 percent of the total population. Once that amount goes over 14 percent, the country is considered a "super aging society."
Zheng said that China faces a grim condition in how to cope with the aging population, with 240 million Chinese currently aged above 60 according to official data. Elderly care services are developing rapidly but also unevenly, he said.
Elderly care services are already not enough to satisfy the nationwide demand, while unbalanced supply has also become a problem, he said.
These services lack social participation and professional nursing staff. There is also a battle between styles of nursing, such as modern and traditional methods.
Zheng recommended an industry-wide plan on elderly care services be formulated, which should be considered a new growth point for a sustainable national economy. Training of professional elderly care staff should be enhanced and the legal system should be improved to protect the rights of the elderly.
CAOSS is a non-governmental organization focusing on social security studies, vocational education and training, and international exchanges on social security issues.
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