“Empty nesters” are used to describe senior citizens who are left behind in cities or rural areas with their children seeking wealth elsewhere.
The increasing number of migrant labor forces has made more and more “empty nesters” in China.
Although private capitals have increased investment into the elder nursing industry, the gap between the investment and demand is still huge.
Taking care of the elders in their own community is a new attempt in this field.
Dapu village of southeast China’s Fujian province has registered residents of some 5,000, but nearly 2,000 of them have migrated to cities for work. Most of them are young people.
For the left, most are the elderly, life without the young are really difficult.
To take care of them, local government built a nursing home with a building area of 7,000 square meters.
It’s free for more than 200 elderly people aged above 70 years old.
Until now, nearly 190 elderly people have moved in.
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE)WU JIANPING, Vice director of Dapu nursing home
“The living facilities include bathroom, hot water system, garderobe, beds and quilts. Each person has three sets of quilts and sheets. It’s free for elderly people to live here. Some living necessities, such as washing powder, are also for free. They can move in just with some clothes.”
81-year-old Wu Shengleng moved to the nursing home with her wife two years ago.
He is satisfied with the life here.
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE)WU SHENGLENG, Dapu villager
“My son is busy with his work and I felt bored at home. After moving into the nursing home, I could chat with others, read newspapers, play cards and watch TV. The living conditions here are better than at home.”
Local government officials say the nursing home is a trial project to address the rural area’s ageing population problem.
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE)WU JINCHENG, Party secretary of Dapu
“China has nearly 1.4 billion people with 900 million living in rural areas. And many elderly people are left behind in rural areas. As a village official, I have to take measures to solve the problem. So we built the nursing home to allow the young people to work hard outside without worries about their parents.”
China has seen fast pace of aging population over the past years.
Official data show population aged on over 60 reached 212 million in 2014, accounting for 15.5 percent of the country’s total population.