Saturday 10 December 2016

More than 57 elderly people go missing in China every HOUR, report says

Neil Connor

Published 11/10/2016 | 09:50

An elderly man uses a magnifiying glass to see the description on a pack of medicine at a pharmacy in Dandong, Liaoning province
An elderly man uses a magnifiying glass to see the description on a pack of medicine at a pharmacy in Dandong, Liaoning province

About 1,370 Chinese elderly go missing everyday, a new report said, amid growing concerns the country’s ageing population is being neglected by children who leave their backwater hometowns 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 or 57 every hour, 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 Telegraph by the authors.

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

Many of the missing have mental illnesses, with 72 percent 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, 30 percent of Chinese will be 60 or over, the UN estimates, versus 20 percent worldwide and 10 percent in China in 2000.

Telegraph.co.uk

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