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Over 250,000 Beijing Elderly Happy at Nursing Homes

12.7 percent of the 2.02 million people in the city who are over 60 -- are happy to live in nursing homes, according to a survey by the municipal political consultative conference.

Even if most seniors prefer traditional home-care by family members, nursing homes are becoming increasingly acceptable to the grey population, according to sources with the conference.

This has boosted the demand for nursing homes, which are in short supply. In 2005, Beijing only had 3,900 beds in 313 nursing homes. This works out at 15 beds for every 1,000 old people, far fewer than the 50-70 beds in developed countries

In addition to the shortage of beds, nursing homes lack certified professional caretakers and have difficulty retaining staff because of heavy workloads and low wages.

More work needs to be done to care for the elderly population and solve problems posed by the aging society, the report said.

Beijing will have 3.49 million seniors aged over 60 by 2020, almost 20 percent of its total population, according to statistics from the conference.

Currently, China has 143 million people aged 60 or over, half Asia's and 20 percent of the world total grey population, and 11 percent of China's total population.

(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2006)

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