The central authorities issued a comprehensive document last week guiding governments at all levels to cope with challenges posed by one of the largest and fastest aging populations in the world. Even the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly says that coping with the challenge of aging population is China’s long-term strategic task.

By 2050, China will have an aging population of 500 million. But since the ratio of elderly people in the rural population is higher than in urban areas, the aging population problem is more serious in rural areas. Also, due to the economic gap between urban and rural areas, senior citizens in the countryside face more difficulties, including weaker support from their children, serious health problems, relatively poor living conditions, and the risk of falling into poverty due to weak monetary support.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China report advances that the aging population problem should be actively dealt with by building a better eldercare system, including a combined medical treatment and eldercare mechanism. And the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee said the construction of a comprehensive eldercare system should be expedited by combining medical care and eldercare, and establishing better coordination between family and community eldercare systems.

Serving the elderly in rural areas a crucial task

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