Ageing and aged care in the People's Republic of China: national and local issues and perspectives

Health Place. 1997 Sep;3(3):149-59. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8292(97)00008-7.


China's population is rapidly ageing at a time when former socialist collective provision and provision by the state in all sectors, especially in social welfare, is being radically reduced because of economic reform and financial stringency. The traditional Chinese approach to family care for elderly members is being encouraged but may be difficult because of smaller family sizes and the disruption of migration. This paper discusses some urban responses to pressures for change in care of elderly people, drawing on the example of Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China, which typifies many of the problems of caring for elderly people in times of social and economic change. It notes the development of homes and facilities for elderly people and the emergence of some prestige homes, often occupied by the better off, which have received both local and international investment. By contrast, the bulk of elderly people will not be adequately provided for by a declining public/collective sector. The dilemmas faced by the Chinese authorities attempting to stimulate local provision for all elderly people are identified.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends*
  • Health Services for the Aged / supply & distribution*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Long-Term Care / trends
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Growth*