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China is suffering from a shortage of old-age homes with 12.5% of its population being over 60 years or older, according to ChinaDaily.

In one example of the level of shortage, the paper cited the case of Evergreen, a nursing with 500 beds but a waiting list of 2,700 since 2008.

“The nation is suffering from a great shortage of old-age homes,” Yan Qingchun, deputy director of the China National Committee on Aging (CNCA) was quoted as saying.

Beijing had approximately 90,000 people waiting for a place in a nursing home, at the end of 2009, but there were only 30,000 beds available, according to official statistics.

Meanwhile, the number of people nationwide aged 60 or older amounted to 167 million by 2009 or 12.5% of the population, according to the CNCA.

Among the 167 million elderly people, experts estimated that around 50% were living by themselves, while their children sought employment elsewhere.

To make matters worse, nearly 30 million of those old people are disabled or will soon be because of illness or the natural effects of aging and are in need of care, the paper said.

China has about 40,000 nursing homes with a total of around 2.4 million beds, official statistics show. Many of these homes are struggling to stay profitable. Beijing’s response has been to look for policies that favour old age care facilities in taxes and other ways. In addition to the traditional government-owned nursing homes, privately-owned ones are being encouraged, Wu said.

China had 30,000 people certified to work in old age care, by 2008 – but at least 10 million were needed, according to media reports. — Source: ChinaDaily

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