China to further develop elderly care service sector: Premier

Updated: 2013-08-18 08:37


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BEIJING- Greater reforms and innovation will be used to build a diversified nationwide elderly care service system by 2020, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

A sound elderly care service industry will help to create jobs and facilitate economic restructuring, Li said at an executive meeting of the State Council.

China has a rapidly aging society and the largest population of elderly people in the world, reaching almost 200 million.

There are only 21.5 beds available for every 1,000 elderly people in China's nursing homes, according to the Social Development Department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner.

Elderly care service facilities should be built in new communities and updated in old ones, the council said, adding that free or inexpensive services should be provided to disadvantaged elderly people, especially in rural areas.

More innovative elderly care service models should be explored, including those that involve cooperation with the health care, insurance, education and tourism industries, Li said, adding that non-government actors and foreign investors should be encouraged to support the development of the sector.

Governments at all levels should provide fiscal and administrative support for the sector and facilitate the training of elderly care professionals, Li added.