Hello everyone! Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!
We've talked about many topics concerning young people, but today I want to discuss a topic about the elderly. Recently, I came across a report that stated there are over 200 million people aged 65 and above in China, which accounts for about 14% of the total population. This number is quite large. Brazil has approximately 200 million people, and Japan has around 130 million people. The number of elderly in China is almost equivalent to the total population of Brazil and even more than that of Japan. Now, young people in China are getting more ad more unwilling to have children, and each year, the number of births is decreasing compared to the previous year. This means that the young population will continue to decline while the elderly population will continue to grow. Is China prepared for an aging society? How do people in China take care of their elderly? Let's discuss it together today.
For many years, elderly people in China were taken care of by their children or younger family members. Chinese people have a concept called "养儿防老" (raising children to support one in old age), meaning that they have children so that they will be taken care of in their old age. In Chinese traditional culture, taking care of parents and grandparents is considered a matter of course. "天经地义" (a matter of course) is an idiom that means something must be done and is common sense. For example, in China, it is a matter of course for young people to take care of the elderly. For example, protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility; it is a matter of course. For many years, taking care of the elderly in China was not a problem because there were always younger people to take care of them. However, things have changed after the implementation of the one-child policy.
In 1979, the Chinese government introduced the one-child policy, which meant that most families were allowed to have only one child. However, as these children grew up, they found it challenging to take care of their parents. Why is that? Let's do a math problem. If a man and a woman get married, and both of them are only children in their families, they, as young people, would need to take care of the man's parents, the woman's parents, the man's grandparents, the woman's grandparents, and possibly even great-grandparents. They would need to take care of at least four elderly individuals, in addition to their own children. This is too burdensome for young people! As a result, the number of nursing homes in China has gradually increased.
Nowadays, more and more young people in China are not willing to have children. Consequently, the number of elderly people in China will continue to rise while the number of young people decreases. Although there are more nursing homes now, they are still far from sufficient, and the services they provide for the elderly are not yet satisfactory. The development of nursing homes in China is challenging, and there are several reasons for this. First, due to traditional beliefs, many elderly people and young people are reluctant to send the elderly to nursing homes. They consider it a matter of losing face because it is a matter of course for the elderly to be taken care of by younger family members. Second, many nursing homes in China are not profitable and are running at a loss. This is because the majority of Chinese people do not have high salaries, and their retirement pensions are not high either. However, the cost of caring for the elderly in nursing homes is high. Many people are reluctant to go to cheap but poor-quality nursing homes, while they also find good nursing homes too expensive. Third, the Chinese government may not yet have sufficient experience in developing nursing homes. In the past, there were many young people in China who could take care of the elderly, and there was not a significant need for many nursing homes. Now, the government realizes the importance of nursing homes, but they still lack sufficient experience.
What will life be like for the current young people when they grow old? Will there be many comfortable nursing homes at that time? We can only carry this question with us and continue living.
How do elderly people take care of themselves in your country? Feel free to share in the comments!
1 thought on “#119 An aging society has come – How would China deal with it? 中国准备好老龄化社会了吗？”