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China to enhance social care for rural left-behind elderly

Updated: Feb 25,2018 8:15 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The Ministry of Civil Affairs has issued a document to require better social care for left-behind elderly people in rural areas.

To reduce security risks to rural seniors, many of whom live alone while younger family members work in cities, China will establish a database containing information on left-behind elderly people, said Huang Shengwei, deputy chief of the ministry’s social work department.

China will set up a regular visiting system to check on rural left-behind seniors, said Huang.

To improve elder care in rural areas, the ministry vowed to improve management of nursing homes and build more facilities, he said.

The ministry encouraged family members to visit the elderly more often, while also urging village committees, charity organizations and volunteers to spend time in comforting them so as to prevent their loneliness.

The ministry said earlier that China had more than 144,600 nursing institutions as of September 2017, three times that at the end of 2012.

China had more than 230 million people aged 60 or above at the end of 2016, 16.7 percent of the total population.