China increasing subsidies for rapidly aging population

Global Business

Taking care of China’s senior citizens is a pressing issue. The coastal city of Hangzhou is stepping up efforts in providing care thanks to private investment. CCTV America’s Ying Yiyuan reports with details.

80-year old Chen Xinfeng moved into a home for senior citizens in Hangzhou after losing her husband. Chen gets a single en-suite, three meals a day and personal aid service. She says, “since I started staying here, my children don’t have to worry about me when they are at work. And I am happy I have my own fellows at my age here.”

The Hangzhou Aikang home for the elderly is a privately funded organization. Some seniors seek a better social life here. Others are bedridden and require that their daily needs be taken care of. Running such a home for the elderly, however, isn’t profitable.

The managers of these homes claim that the initial investment is 35 million yuan. “At the beginning we were losing 300,000 to 500,000 yuan per month. Now as more people are moving in, we can just keep the balance monthly,” they say. Hangzhou is in Zhejiang province, which has one of the oldest populations in China. 20 percent of the province’s population will be above 60-years old in 2015. The government is increasing support for the elder care industry by reducing taxes and increasing subsidies.

Huang Yuvanlong from the department of civil affairs says, “we offer a 6,000 yuan subsidy for every bed in newly built elderly homes. If over 60 percent of the residents are disabled seniors, we will give additional 2,000 yuan per bed. We also offer financial support to college graduates who work in elderly homes.”

Another type of elderly care offers services in residential homes. A small neighborhood day-care is the place where seniors can eat and socialize. More personal services are available on request. The government built the platform and let private organizations run the service.

In an attempt to improve the welfare of China’s rapidly aging population, the government is now paying monthly subsidies to 8 million of the nation’s 19 million people above the age of 80.The Subsidies are in place in 14 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions – up from the six participating when the subsidies were introduced in 2010.