China’s population is aging rapidly. Last year, the country had 158.31 million people aged 60 or older, while people older than 65 accounted for 11.4 percent of the population, according to the National Statistics Bureau. In 2017, the number of people older than 65 in China went up by 5.5 percent.
The peak is estimated to fall around 2050 when China’s elderly population is expected to hit 487 million, which will account for more than one third of the population.
According to a blue book on the living conditions of the urban and rural elderly in China published in 2018, about 30 percent of the elderly in China is in good health and the urban, male, younger, highly-educated, married, non-independent elderly are in relatively better conditions.
It also said that in daily health care behavior, more than half of the elderly had recently had a physical examination and take health supplements, and have never smoked or drunk alcohol, but almost half of the elderly never take exercise and have trouble sleeping. Nearly all the elderly in China are eligible for social insurance, but the proportion of seniors buying commercial health insurance is low.
China’s current situation and foreign experience have shown that at-home and community-based aged care is the main part of the old-age service system. Great efforts have been leveraged to explore the establishment of a multi-level aged care system based on homes, supported by communities and supplemented by institutions.
As of the end of 2017, there were 32,000 social service agencies providing accommodation in the country, including 29,000 aged service institutions. There are 7.495 million social service beds, including 7.142 million old-age service beds. A total of 25,000 community service centers and 139,000 community service stations are available for elderly citizens.
Statistics from the National Healthcare Security Administration show that more than 57 million people in China are now covered by a new insurance program designed to provide care to those who have lost the ability to live alone. The establishment of the long-term care insurance program has alleviated the burden on the families of elderly people no longer able to live on their own, for reasons including frailty and disability, and greatly improved the access to nursing services expenses.