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The elderly service industry brings both opportunities and responsibilities

2019-08-15

With the decline of birth rate and the increase of life expectancy, China, with its population aging faster, is expected to become the world’s oldest country by 2050. In addition, the first-generation middle-class in new China are about to retire. Privately paying for elderly care services has increasingly become a widespread consensus. Thus there is a huge demand for high-quality and customized elderly care services.

The clearly oriented regulatory policies on elderly care bring discipline to development of the elderly care industry. In recent years, relevant authorities have frequently issued policies to support pension system building, infrastructure construction, old-age services, talent development and government subsidies, thus guiding and regulating the market conduct and industry standards. Under the policy guidance, a service system for the aged, which is based on home, supported by the community, supplemented by professional service providers and combined with medical care, is gradually taking shape.

China's increasingly aging population has been highlighting the supply shortfall and demand-supply mismatches in the elderly care industry. It has become a priority to improve the aged security system and enhance elderly services. On the one hand, care beds and nursing staff are in short supply, coupled by limited service items for the aged and inconsistent standards, which do not meet the differentiated care needs of senior people. On the other hand, there is an obvious mismatch of resources. The mix of old-age service providers is dumbbell-shaped. Affordable government-run organizations and expensive private organizations on the ends take up larger shares, while the professional service providers in the middle, which address the health care needs of the largest mid-range population, take up a smaller share. Some organizations have “more than half of beds empty” while some others are "crowded with a lengthy queue". The elderly care market has bright prospects.

40,000 elderly service providers were established nationwide between 2000 and 2010. Putting an end to the initial stage of heavy capital investment, the elderly care industry has gradually shifted from real estate-oriented to service-oriented and entered the mature stage where soft power counts. The dedication to building core competencies with high-quality and professional old-age service will drive the industry on the track of healthy development.

 

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