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China issues five-year plan on elderly care

Updated: Mar 6,2017 5:48 PM

China vowed to provide more quality public services for senior citizens, as a way to deal with an aging society, according to the five-year plan (2016-2020) on elderly care issued by the State Council on March 6.

Pension and healthcare systems will be improved. According to the plan, by 2020, 80 percent of urban and rural residents should enjoy basic pension insurance, and 95 percent of citizens should be covered by basic health insurance.

A nationwide information network for basic health insurance will be built to facilitate settlement of healthcare costs for retired people across regions, said the plan.

Local governments will be encouraged to include basic rehabilitation devices in the reimbursement catalog for families living in hardship.

According to the plan, minimum living allowance and other social assistance should be available for all registered poor senior citizens.

As an integral part of elderly care, families and communities are asked to take their share of responsibilities. Community elderly care centerswill receive more government funding.

Private capital and nongovernment organizations will have more access to the elderly care market, so that senior citizens can have more options in diverse services. By 2020, elderly care beds provided by governments should account for no more than 50 percent of the total.

Hospitals and elderly care institutions were asked to enhance cooperation and services, and more efforts should be made to build rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes and palliative care institutions.

Hospitals should do more in rehabilitation and the fight against old-age diseases, the plan said. By 2020, over 35 percent of hospitals above second-class will have geriatric care departments.

More physical exercise facilities will be built and open for old people free of charge. Sports organization for senior citizens will be encouraged.

Education and culture for the elderly population will also be developed. The plan said that by 2020, every city above county level should have at least one university for senior citizens.

In addition, senior citizens will also be encouraged to get more involved in public activities, especially volunteer work. The plan hoped that by 2020, over 12 percent of elderly people will be registered as volunteers.

According to the document, by 2020, the elderly population over 60 year old will reach approximately 255 million, accounting for 17.8 percent of the total. The number of older people living alone will reach 118 million.