Industrializing nations face a true challenge due to the global shift in ageing demographics.  China shares this reality, and is predicted to have 25% of its population be aged 65 by 2050. Naturally, this predicted change creates concerns over who will care for the elderly, how care will be financed, and how medical and social care costs will be managed.  China’s rapid economic growth since the 1980s has been accompanied by a sharp decrease in fertility. In comparison with European countries that saw declining population over 50 – 100 years, China’s dramatic shift has occurred in a time span of 30 years. The famous “1 child policy” had the unplanned effect of creating today’s 4-2-1 families. People in their 20s and 30s have two parents and four grandparents.  Because of family norms of filial support, these single children will be called upon to provide support to both of their parents, and they frequently will not have siblings or extended family that will able to assist with care tasks.

The need for proper care of the elderly is a tremendous opportunity for organizations that are looking to break into the Chinese market. While there are already many firms catering to the very wealthy, middle class and poor Chinese continue to face care that is low quality or in some cases abusive. The Chinese government has responded to the need by working across ministries to prioritise aged care issues and develop a safety net to assist elders when children are no longer able to care for them.

Is your organization working in China? We would love to hear from you. Drop us a line at iahsa@leadingage.org and let us know what care models you follow or what you perceive as quality priorities.

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