A survey by China Youth Daily has found that 87.9 percent of respondents paid attention to elderly care and 69 percent said they felt concerned about looking after elderly parents for various reasons.
Of the 1,992 participants aged 18-35, about one third lived in first-tier cities and 47.8 percent in second-tier cities. Residents of bigger cities were more concerned about elderly care, about 73.4 percent, than their counterparts in smaller cities, at 68.9 percent.
The top three concerns identified were a lack of time or energy to look after elderly parents (65.3 percent), the gap between income and savings (59 percent), and whether parents who lived alone could get timely emergency aid (53.6 percent). Participants in the survey were also worried about a shortage of medical resources (39.4 percent) and the quality of medical services at a community level.
Dong Ke, a professor at Renmin University of China, said China's current pension system was still underdeveloped, with limited products or services available, while a rapidly aging society — on a scale not seen elsewhere in the world — also created many difficulties.
Dong called on young people to financially prepare for elderly care.
To prepare for advanced/senior age, 62 percent chose personal financing to top up old-age pensions, 54.5 percent asked their parents to have regular medical checks, and 47.5 percent tried to maintain good health through better diet and workouts. In addition, 43.6 percent of respondents had purchased or planned to purchase commercial insurance.
Zhang Tian, who is 24 and works for an IT company in Beijing, said he and his fiancée were both the only children in their families, and they found it quite stressful to think about the prospect of looking after four elderly people in addition to their own child.
The survey also found as high as 93 percent believed the government should help only children look after their parents. More than 62 percent suggested a subsidy for elderly care and also a service quality management system. Some 27 percent called for establishing an intelligent care system that combines police, monitoring and hospitals.