China to increase elderly bed numbers

Updated: 2016-01-25 19:43


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BEIJING -- China plans to increase geriatric nursing beds to 35-40 per 1,000 patients by the end of 2020, up from 30:1,000 in 2015.

The country has over 200 million people aged 60 or above, more than 15 percent of the population, with estimates that this will increase to 243 million by 2020.

Although still far from ideal, by the end of 2015 China had 6.7 million nursing beds for the elderly, according to figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Feng Yaping, a senior ministry official, said at a press conference Monday that, by the end of 2020, at least 30 percent of beds will be suitable for physically or mentally disabled patients.

Demand for elderly care and actual supply varies greatly between regions due to inadequate and outdated facilities.

According to figures reviewed in December by lawmakers, about 90 percent of old people in China live at home, with only about 3 percent in assisted care. The rest rely on community services.

According to Zhen Bingliang, an official with the social welfare center under the ministry, nursing-medical cooperation will be given particular attention.

"We will also survey elderly people who live at home, to gauge their health and economic situations so that we can tailor benefits that will help them receive professional care," Zhen said.