Entering into an aging society, China attaches unprecedented importance to the wellbeing of its senior citizens. A plan for public services during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, recently released by the National Development and Reform Commission together with other 20 agencies, highlights several new approaches.
The blueprint promotes a three-category senior care system, helping providers meet the needs in more targeted manner and giving full rein to the respective roles of government, society and market.
The government will first set out to improve the social safety net for vulnerable seniors, taking on a key role in ensuring facilities and quality are up to par. The plan also encourages nursing homes to offer free or low-price services to senior citizens with low incomes or those with severe disabilities.
Then follows the development of affordable and inclusive services. A community-based nursing service network will allow senior citizens to access nursing services within 15 minutes. Rural areas will see the establishment of elderly care facilities and all new urban communities must be equipped with these facilities at a standard of no less than 0.1 square meter per person. Private investment is encouraged to enter the nursing service sector, and more training campaigns will follow to improve elderly wellbeing.
The third step will provide more services improving the quality of life for seniors. The plan proposes to integrate the development of senior care services with other industries, including culture, tourism, sports, home services and healthcare, and establish various industrial clusters covering a wide range of areas, bearing significant economic and social benefits.
China has more than 264 million people aged 60 or over, accounting for 18.7 percent of its 1.41 billion residents, according to the seventh national census conducted in 2020.
As can be seen from this new plan, China not only intends to meet senior citizens' material and medical needs, but also wants to help them live a more colorful life.
Organizations and activities, ranging from age-friendly universities and bands to tourist groups and bodybuilding competitions, have become popular forms of recreation in the senior care industry; the recent plan will surely stimulate the emergence of more formulae to better satisfy the elderly demands for a quality life.