Saturday 3 December 2016

Concern as 1,370 elderly in China go missing every day

Neil Connor and Christine Wei

Published 12/10/2016 | 02:30

More than 80pc of missing elderly are reportedly found in the big cities, but only 50pc in the rural regions. Photo credit: Getty Images
More than 80pc of missing elderly are reportedly found in the big cities, but only 50pc in the rural regions. Photo credit: Getty Images

About 1,370 Chinese elderly go missing every day, a new report said, amid growing concerns the country's ageing population is being neglected by children who leave their backwater home towns for the booming cities.

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Elderly people in China often rely on their children for emotional and financial support, and caring for parents is considered the most sacred of Chinese virtues.

But decades of economic growth have led many of today's younger generations to focus more on their careers than their parents' welfare.

About 500,000 elderly people go missing in China every year - or 1,370 a day - the survey released by the Zhongmin Social Assistance Institute said.

Most of the cases occur in rural communities and small cities, areas where young people often leave to find work in China's fast-developing larger cities, said the report, which was sent to 'The Daily Telegraph' by the authors.

Dementia

More than 80pc of missing elderly are reportedly found in the big cities, but only 50pc in the rural regions.

Many of the missing have mental illnesses, with 72pc suffering from memory impairment and a quarter diagnosed with dementia.

Four decades of the draconian one-child policy has resulted in a dwindling workforce and a rapidly ageing population.

In 2013, Beijing passed a law that aimed to compel adult children to visit their ageing parents. It also listed a series of obligations to provide for the "spiritual needs of the elderly".

Observers criticised the measures as being difficult to enforce, but they were a key indicator of concern in Beijing about who would care for China's growing ranks of elderly.

By 2050, 30pc of Chinese will be 60 or over, the UN estimates, versus 20pc worldwide and 10pc in China in 2000. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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