China's rapid demographic shift towards an aging population has prompted the government to implement a comprehensive set of policies aimed at promoting elderly care and addressing the unique challenges associated with this demographic transition. With the number of individuals over 60 years old surpassing 280 million by the end of 2022, accounting for nearly 20% of the total population, the need for robust elderly care services has become increasingly pressing.
In late May, the Chinese government unveiled its ambitious "National List of Basic Elderly Care Services," a policy that has been hailed as a major step forward in ensuring the well-being and safety of the elderly population. At the heart of this initiative is a focus on providing essential services to meet the basic needs of senior citizens.
The comprehensive list encompasses three key categories, including equipment support, elder care and nursing services, and various other essential service items. Notably, the policy emphasizes the provision of basic senior health insurance for workers, urban and rural residents who reach a certain age, guaranteeing access to essential healthcare services.
Under the "National List," the government has committed to providing pensions for individuals aged 80 and above. Furthermore, subsidies will be extended to elderly citizens facing financial difficulties and those unable to take care of themselves, such as disabled individuals. To address the needs of elderly individuals with severe disabilities requiring long-term care, classified as Grade I or II, living supplements will be made available.
Recognizing the importance of support systems within families, the policy also introduces subsidies for family members of elderly people with disabilities, who are also enrolled in vocational training for caregivers. This measure aims to enhance the quality of care provided by family members and alleviate the burden on both the caregivers and the elderly.
Beyond government involvement, the "National List" also incentives private organizations to actively participate in the market and contribute to the development of the elderly care sector. Local governments are tasked with subsidizing the construction and operation of elderly care facilities, while private organizations are encouraged to accelerate their efforts to meet the growing demand.
To ensure quality and effectiveness, an evaluation mechanism for basic elderly care services will be established as part of the program. This evaluation framework aims to maintain standards, monitor service quality, and continuously improve the care provided to elderly individuals.
China's commitment to addressing the needs of its aging population extends beyond the "National List of Basic Elderly Care Services." In recent years, the country has made significant strides in developing its elderly service system and enhancing the benefits available to senior citizens. Since January 2022, efforts have been made to coordinate basic pension and insurance schemes for enterprise workers, effectively resolving structural contradictions within the system and guaranteeing pension payments even in challenging regions. The government also confirmed that, from January 1, 2023, the basic pensions of those who have retired by the end of 2022 will be increased by 3.8%.