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Schermafdruk 2019 04 06 20.54.18At a gated community for senior citizens on the outskirts of Beijing, retired military personnel, film-makers and top university professors settle into a new routine: ballet lessons, weightlifting and catered dining. As China’s population ages rapidly, and with parents having only a single child to help them in their old age, the upper crust are spending their last years in community luxury. A grand piano backlit by floor-to-ceiling windows stands in the Yanyuan community’s clubhouse living room. Brightly colored artworks commissioned from Israeli artist David Gerstein adorn public spaces. “This is our home now,” said Li Ying, a 71-year-old resident who spent more than 30 years in the military. “Special circumstances notwithstanding, we are prepared to live here until the end.” Though high-end institutions like Yanyuan, which boasts an on-site hospital and on-call staff, are still few, they are part of a growing industry as the country races to develop enough elderly care support for its exploding population of senior citizens. By 2050, 1 in 3 people in China — 487 million people — will be over the age of 60, according to the official Xinhua news agency, more than the entire population of the United States. In the past, parents could count on their children for care in their twilight years under traditions of filial piety. But as China reckons with its one-child policy, which was aimed at curbing population growth, couples are now burdened with raising their own children while supporting both sets of parents — without the help of siblings. “The idea that children should take care of their aging parents is an old logic spanning thousands of years,” explained Li. “As society develops, this is changing.” To tackle the country’s looming aging crisis, the Chinese government is trialing a number of policies, including preferential tax policies for providers of elderly care services. The push to grow China’s elderly care capacity has encouraged more private companies, from real estate developers to insurance firms, to seize on business opportunities in the industry, such as nursing homes where residents enjoy five-star accommodations and professional medical support. At Yanyuan, which is run by the insurance giant Taikang, residents can . . . . . read more in The Japan Times

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