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Elder Rights in Asia Pacific

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A World Tour of Older Persons Homes
Come on this World Tour to a little known place in the world to discover how older persons are living.

Reports & Articles


India: Report on Elder Abuse in India (2012)
HelpAge India completed the following report about elder abuse in India in honor of the first annual International World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  Here are only a few of their salient findings:
More than two out of every five older persons studied are financially dependent on others; more than one half are financially dependent on the oldest son.  Some 35% of the older adults studied report elder abuse.  Another 51% feel neglected sometimes, while yet others (40%) feel neglected every day.  Fifty-three percent of the older individuals studied did not take any actions to respond to the abuse; Nearly all (92%) of those older adults who were abused did not file a complaint against the abuser.

Report: Older Women in India
In India, the elderly population sex ratio leans towards females. Socio-economic changes and urbanization have eroded the relationship between the elderly and the younger generation. These older women face marginalization, social insecurity, financial uncertainty, healthcare concerns and emotional isolation. The lack of awareness, support and cultural biases make older women more vulnerable to human rights violations. With increasing life expectancies and a higher percentage of elderly women in the Indian elderly population, specific issues surrounding this group need special attention and action.

Australia: Special Report: Attitudes to Older Workers (January 2012)
A report prepared for the Financial Services Council of Australia states that the population of people over 60 years of age is growing at approximately four times the rate of other demographic groups and over 1 million Australians aged 50 or over today have insufficient pension or superannuation coverage. In response to this policy challenge, the government is seeking to increase labor force participation by older people. This report points out barriers related to attitudes of employers. For example, age discrimination is most acute for those in the middle-income bracket and the cost of retaining older workers is prohibitive.

In view of a rapidly aging population, Australia has set increasing workforce participation of mature age people (aged 50 and above) as a policy priority. This report presents 14 barriers to aging workforce participation ranked in order of importance. The top barriers are physical illness, injury and disability, age discrimination and issues around private recruitment practices. The report provides evidence and policy responses for each barrier.


China: Plight of China's Elderly in Rural Areas (June 8, 2012)
Due to the heavy migration of young adults to urban areas, older persons must fend for themselves in rural areas of China. The greatest problems for these Chinese elders is that they have little income and are prone to depression. In some villages, nearby college students visit every two weeks to help seniors with chores and housework and keep them company.

China: China, too, Faces Challenge of an Aging Society (May 28, 2012)
China is facing the challenge of an aging population. Simultaneously, urbanization and industrialization is weakening traditional family support networks, specifically for senior citizens. Many retired older workers have low pensions and often cannot meet some of their most basic needs. As China’s population ages, the younger workforce available to work is decreasing. This may not only affect the country’s economy but also the quality of life for elders since there will be less support. How will China manage this situation?

China: Aging Populace Gives Birth to Growing Market (May 21, 2012)
With over 185 million Chinese 60 and older, China has the world's largest aged population. Because the government is not meeting the demands of its rapidly aging population there has been an increase in new business opportunities, local and global, to satisfy the old-age market. In fact, Lu Ying, Director of the Social Welfare and Charities Division of the Ministry of Civil Affairs estimate that the market value of such services is over 450 billion yuan. But will those elders who cannot pay be served?

China: Inaugural “Filial Piety” Mini-Movie Competition Kicks Off in Beijing (April 23, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
China Aging Development Foundation and other partners are co-organizing the first international movie-making competition featuring filial piety in action. At the press conference, a short Malaysian video of the same theme was featured and the director comments that the tradition of filial piety is very much alive in other parts of the world where Chinese live. Shortlisted entries would be aired on TV and the internet for public voting. Tune in!

China: Wu Yushao: Rural Children Cold Towards Parents (April 17, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
By 2050, one in three people will be above the age of 60 years. Wu Yushao, Vice-Chair of China National Committee on Aging, commented that 52 percent of rural young people are indifferent towards their parents; 96 percent of older people in China live at home. China could consult the experiences of other countries such as Singapore to encourage children to live with their parents or live near their parents by implanting measures such as subsidies and tax rebates. 

China: “Old Before Rich” Constrains Economic Growth; Expert Recommends Increasing Retirement Age (April 9, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
China’s population is aging before it has fully modernized and developed; elder care services are lagging behind demand. Xiong Bijun of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences recommends increasing retirement age by one every five years. By 2035, retirement age would reach 64 and labor force participation would be 71.5 percent instead of 58.1 percent if China keeps the current retirement age. This would allow China to continue reaping its ‘population dividend’ (labor force participation greater than 66.6 percent and dependency ratio below 50 percent beyond 2030).

Bangladesh: Ageing Population on the Rise (April 5, 2012)
Health and Family Welfare Minister AFM Ruhal Haque believes that raising awareness of aging issues require a concerted mutual effort between the media and civil society. People above 60 years comprise 6.8 percent of Bangladesh's total population. By way of timely initiatives, diseases can be prevented.

China: Commentary: “Thickly Cared for and Thinly Buried” Shows Virtue (April 5, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Every year during Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, families tend to ancestral graves. In recent years, to exhibit filial piety, children buy expensive paper ‘mansions,’ or items such as cell phones, to be burnt as offerings, or pay for expensive services like performances and rites. The writer reminds us that not only is spending such money on elder care when their parents are still alive more virtuous, simpler burial services and ancestral offerings, such as writing a poem, are also more environmentally friendly. Government legislation should regulate the building of opulent graves to encourage green burials.

India: WHO: Ageing India May See a Rise in Number of Widows (April 3, 2012)
According to the World Health Organization, the number of widows will increase rapidly in India because of their longer life-spans compared to men.  Because of the male-dominated culture, this will in turn reflect the large percentage of older women who are at risk of dependency, isolation and poverty. Recommendations to help this transition include a state sponsored insurance and a separate geriatric department.

China: More Than Half Unwilling to Go to Elder Care Homes; Elder Care Crisis Increases Public Anxiety (April 3, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Of almost 2,000 people surveyed, 69.6 percent indicated that they are ‘very anxious’ about their own retirement with only 6.2 percent agreeing that “as long as one works hard to accumulate wealth, elder care is no issue.” Only 15.84 percent are willing to experience institutional elder care; 57.84 percent indicated money as the biggest obstacle in caring for their parents; 20.71 percent indicated gaps in the elder care market and lack of supply to meet demand; 42.58 percent of respondents plan to rely on pensions in old age; 65.82 percent think that the solution to the current crisis is for the government to invest more in hardware and software in areas such as social security, medical insurance and elder care.

Beijing ensures basic care for older persons who are not insured. In the future, older persons may also get reimbursed for medical treatments in homes instead of having to visit community-based clinics to qualify. To encourage setting up more elder care facilities, Beijing will increase subsidies on a per-bed basis, reduce the cost of utilities and provide land for both private and public homes. 
China may not be the most rapidly aging society but it is aging on the largest scale. Unlike the US, there are very few retirement communities in China. In the US, development has already shifted from large-scale to smaller communities and there are units for both high and low-income older persons. Some major cities in China have started to prioritize the development of the ‘grey economy’ and the scale will continue to expand with government support.

China: China Faces Daunting Elderly Care Challenge (March 27, 2012)
At a Ministry of Health symposium exploring the possibility of establishing a long-term elderly care system in China, Wu Yushao, vice-director of the China National Committee on Aging, said that “at least tens of millions of households are having difficulties with elderly care” due to the rise of “empty nest” families and an aging population. 

China: Elderly Queuing to Stay in Beijing’s ‘First Social Benefits Home’ to Wait 10 Years (March 26, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
By the end of 2011, there were 3.15 million beds in elder care facilities nationwide, which cater to only 1.77 percent of the elderly population in China. In Beijing, there are neighborhood daycare centers but no one uses these ill-equipped and understaffed centers. Aging-in-community cannot be depended on but homes are also not an option. Often, they refuse to take in dependent older persons and less than one-third of homes in Beijing have medical staff. Beijing’s best-run public eldercare home has 1,100 beds and 7,000 people on the waiting list.

China: Old People Have No Obligations to Prove Themselves ‘Still Alive’ (March 26, 2012)

(Article in Chinese)
To prevent fraud, many local government offices require retirees to prove that they are still alive to receive a pension. Methods include making them pay for a ‘still alive’ card and having pictures taken of the retiree holding newspapers of the current date. The writer thinks that the state is responsible for pensions; pension is not a privilege. The more economically developed and civilized a society is, the more it should provide security and respect for the elderly. A service-oriented state should be responsible for ascertaining if pensioners are still alive; obliging pensioners to do it is lazy governance.

South Korea: Korean Government Increases Jobs Opportunities for its Older Citizens (March 21, 2012)
(Article in Arabic)
The Ministry of Health and Social Care will increase job opportunities for Korean senior citizens, which is going to augment by 10 percent this year

China: Older People Rarely Go to the Movies; Elder Consumers Forgotten by Cultural Industries (March 20, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
The Hong Kong movie, “A Simple Life,” is doing very well and has sparked discussions about elder life issues. Ironically, it did not attract older people to the movies. They tend to be frugal, focused on living healthily and helping out at home. Their leisure activities are free or low-cost. Unlike in Japan, cultural products in China often neglect the elderly. One reason is that in Japan, children are independent at an earlier age, leaving their parents free to pursue their own interests. An official from the Ministry of Culture admits that China has inadequate publicly funded cultural spaces and activities, and these often are not attractive to the elderly.

China: Eldercare Plan Must Be Foreseeable (March 20, 2012)

(Article in Chinese)
China is rapidly aging as a country--because of the one-child policy and increased longevity. Ensuring quality of life for the elderly is a requirement for a people-oriented political system. In China, parents raise children to ensure their own elder care. Children see providing for their parents as their responsibility and payback for their own upbringing. However, a rapidly aging China cannot totally depend on the family model of care. The current model is insufficient and has to be improved before the full-blown actualization of an aged society. 

Japan: Japan’s Elderly Drive Demand for Care-Giving Robots (March 19, 2012)
The number of Japanese aged 100 and above has risen for the 41st consecutive year.  This article introduces some of the new robots that will soon be released. These include: an improved hair-washing robot and a robotic suit that is worn by the user for assistance in walking. The article also features a video of a robot that looks like a teddy bear designed to lift patients in and out of wheelchairs and beds.

China: Elderly Population Reaches 143 Million; 2 Trillion Yuan Consumer Market Attracts Japanese and Korean Corporations (March 19, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
The 2012 Zhejiang Expo on businesses targeting aging consumers attracted experienced Japanese and Korean firms that bring in more sophisticated ideas and specialized products and services, because Chinese firms are new to this industry. These include clothing, food, health, entertainment, travel offerings and elder care services. By 2020, older persons will make up 17 percent of China’s population and the market for elder products will a 2 trillion Yuan attraction.

China: Population Ages Faster; ‘Old Before Becoming Rich’ Tests Development of Elder Care Industry (March 12, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Representatives of the National People’s Congress and People’s Political Consultative Congress now say that in China people age before acquiring the wealth needed to sustain them in old age. Families are getting smaller and the elder care industry is not well established. Thus, the government has to take the lead. The traditional Chinese model—low wages, high benefits—that places the whole burden of care on employers is no longer suitable. The author argues that China has to actively seek societal support and develop a diversified, integrated approach to aging. Some argue for a “market” approach which could reduce services for poor elders. Experts point out that the elder care industry remains unregulated.

China: National People’s Congress Deputy: Budget Spending on Developing Services for Aging (March 7, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Aging is a hot topic at this year’s National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Conference. Deputy Cao Lili from Shaanxi suggests that the government budget for the development of social services and social insurance for the elderly. She also suggests that the government take a leading role in a pilot project located in Western China to develop elder care services and facilities, for example, by encouraging and aiding investments in elder care services.

China: Wen Jiabao: Work Hard to Provide for Urban and Rural Aging (March 7, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
In the latest government working report, Prime Minister Wen reports that actualizing elder care for urban and rural elderly is an important step requiring the support of a comprehensive social security system. State initiatives include retirement insurance and encouraging investments and NGOs in elder care. Since the standard of health insurance is closely linked to elder health, the government will also improve coverage and health services. The report also mentions a focus on rural aging.

China: Aging in Community: Problems that Must be Tackled (March 6, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
First, while every locale is investing in aging, resource allocation is unreasonable, unfair and inefficient. Inequalities in quality and quantity exist between urban and rural areas, in institutions and at home, in nursing and non-nursing care-giving models. Second, the government is not investing enough. Third, private investment is limited. Elder care is a potential rising industry but it is also low-profit. Some local governments are encouraging private investment through means like subsidies.

Japan: Japanese Elderly Knit a Safety Knit (March 5, 2012)
Every Tuesday in the tsunami-ravaged fishing village of Shichigahama, the “Yarn Alive” knitting club meets. It is a support group for a handful of the thousands of elderly Japanese still homeless after last year’s disaster. Club members knit for hours using donated yarn from Australia, Scotland, Korea and a church in Ohio. Many of the thousands of people in temporary housing are 65 or older. These seniors have little savings and few job prospects. Relocating victims to permanent homes on higher ground is expected to take years. The government is currently spending 5.7 trillion yen on support for displaced people. Earnings made from knitting projects will go towards rebuilding the town.

China: Aging in Community, Could it Feel Like Home? (March 5, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
The national plan for an aging population calls for improvements in the area of helping the elderly age at home, in the community and in homes provided for them. Currently, institutions lack facilities and are one-dimensional. The industry also faces labor shortages as few take up these low-wage jobs. Caregivers are not well trained and there is a high turnover. Caregivers also face risks due to the lack of law and regulation in the area of elder care. What are their responsibilities when something happens to the elderly person? The national plan calls for improved facilities, better training, regulations and enforcement.

China: “Filial Strategy” Leads Elderly to Be Cheated (March 5, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Fraudsters selling ‘special health products’ often prey on elderly victims who may be feeling lonely or who are left alone at home. Elderly victims become sympathetic towards friendly young promoters who seem truly concerned and who may even offer gifts. In one case, an 81-year-old man loaned money to a young woman, even though he has never bought anything from her. Afterwards, she could not be contacted.

China: Population Above 60 Reaches 185 Million, 13.7% of Total Population (March 5, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Director Li of China National Committee on Aging calls for active interagency cooperation to push forward the implementation of the national plan for an aging population. This plan is the first ever aging-related plan to have been discussed and passed by the State Council and is of great significance to research and innovation in the area as well as sharing with elder persons the fruits of China’s reforms. In 2011, social insurance for the elderly increased in quantum, and coverage and facilities continue to improve. Elder persons are also becoming more socially integrated, benefitting their mental health, and cities and communities are becoming more age-friendly. 

China: “Retirement Paradise” Maybe a Myth (March 1, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Do elderly migrants who join their children in developed countries really live well? In Flushing, New York City, many older people spend their days bussing to and from the casino. Elderly parents do not have many material wants but desire emotional satisfaction. In Sydney’s suburbs, elderly Chinese grab anyone who appears to be Chinese to ask for directions. Some say, “The U.S. is a children’s paradise, adults’ battlefield, and old people’s grave.” A survey shows seven difficulties for elderly migrants in this situation: language, transportation, difficulty in applying for public housing, difficulty in applying for aid, cultural differences leading to family conflict, loss of independence and a narrow social circle.

Taiwan: Hard for Elders Who Stay Alone to Rent Homes due to Financial and Health Reasons (February 29, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Even if higher rents are offered, owners do not want to risk renting to older people who may be sickly or unable to maintain upkeep on the house. Estates that rent exclusively to the elderly usually have few facilities, for example no elevators. Lu Bing Yi, executive director of a Foundation for Housing and Community Service, calls for government intervention to meet the needs of renters who face age discrimination.

China: Survey Shows Nearly 30% of Elder Persons Help Children Purchase Homes (February 27, 2012)
Elder persons only start to enjoy life after 70. Those younger than 70 are more likely to spend more on their children. As indicated in a survey of 1,125 elderly persons living in big cities, 59.9 percent of those between 60 and 65 indicated that they spend more on their children than vice versa. Parents spend most when “children have urgent needs.” A researcher from Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences commented that while children find it hard to afford real estate due to inflation, parents helping their children too much may cause a wrong mentality in children favoring asking for parental help over working hard to finance their own lives.

Japan: Families to be Required to Report Missing Elderly (February 27, 2012)
The health ministry in Japan intends to require family members living with elderly people to report to the Japan Pension Service if the elderly person goes missing. This is part of an ongoing effort to reduce financial abuse.

China: Rural Elderly: Poverty’s “Lonely Sunset” (February 22, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
A 70-year-old man with an ailing wife toils in his three vegetable fields and rears domesticated animals. He has not seen his son and daughter for years, as they are too poor to visit. He is not an isolated case in rural China. He is most afraid of falling ill and becoming a burden to his children. Currently, close to 20 million above 65 years of age are left in rural areas. A study in Anhui province shows that the depression rate among the rural elderly is 37.6 percent. Nationwide, 36 percent of suicides are above 55. The suicide rate for rural elderly in China is 4 to 5 times higher than the global average.

China: Tolerance Most Important When Elderly Build New Families (February 22, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Many older people are breaking away from tradition and seek second marriages. As couples spend less time getting to know each other and as older people are more set in their ways, second marriages in old age are susceptible to conflict and divorce. Before marriage, couples should discuss sensitive issues with each other and the children. Married, they should be actively involved in each other’s social lives and not be cloistered at home. Lastly, they should trust each other and not let their habitual thinking lead to undue suspicions.

China: Alliance of Cultural Services for Older People Officially Established (February 21, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Those above 65 make up 14.5 percent of China’s population. China has the world’s largest elderly population and is the most rapidly aging country. Along with the material welfare of the elderly, their mental health also requires attention. The new alliance provides platforms for the elderly, including oral history, photography exhibitions, and learning to age healthily. Pilots are being run in three cities: Beijing, Huangshan and Shenchuan.

China: Disabled Elderly Face Difficulties as Children Move Out (February 13, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
As parents of the single-child generation grow older, families find it harder to care for the elderly, especially those who are disabled. In 2010, 6.4 percent of the elderly who live at home, or 10.8 million, were totally disabled. Due to weak social support networks, care-giving responsibilities fall mainly on children and spouses. Elder care facilities reject taking in the disabled to avoid greater manpower needs and greater risks. Caregivers and experts call for the government to take responsibility for caring for the disabled elderly, including regulating the elder care industry.

China: Elderly Living Alone Susceptible to Fraud; Experts Urge Intensification of Investigative Efforts (February 13, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Elderly people living alone are susceptible to fraud as they often are unaware of new fraud methods, have retirement savings, do not have people with whom to interact, and want the best for their health and children. Police face obstacles such as difficulty in verifying crimes against the elderly (for example, in the case of health supplements). Experts urge that more resources be invested in interagency efforts to deal with the problem, including better investigation and public outreach.

China: Surveying Issue of Elder Care: Those Born in 80’s Feel Sorry for Parents (February 13, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Interviewers describe attitudes towards elder care. Those born in the 60’s are caring for aging parents and worrying about their own retirement. They feel that they can only rely on themselves, partly because theirs are all single-child families. Those born in the 70’s are stressed out at work and taking time off for elder care is a luxury. Due to the high cost of living, many born in the 80’s have borrowed their parents’ retirement funds to finance their own houses, resulting in feeling sorry for their parents and worrying about how they will provide care for them.

Taipei: First-of-its-Kind: Subsidies for Older People (February 13, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
In Taipei, those above 65 make up 8.54 percent of the city’s population. To show concern over their living and health conditions, the city will give out twice-yearly subsidies to those above 65 years of age. The amount increases with age. In addition to the Chung Yeung Festival gift money, older people will receive money from the city three times a year.

China: Aging-at-Home Shows Initial Success; Faces Problems of Insufficient Funding and Lack of Facilities (February 13, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
More than 90 percent of older people are unwilling to be admitted to nursing homes. Local governments provide services such as emergency telephones and service vouchers to help them stay in their homes. Some neighborhoods cater specifically to the elderly, facilitating social interactions and access to services. The national government aims to cover 100 percent of urban and 50 percent of rural areas by 2015 with community aging services. Experts think that such aging models will be the main method China will use to deal with aging. Industry professionals think that elder care should be planned and coordinated at the national level.

Australia: Call to Help Women Caring for Parents (February 11, 2012)
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics employment survey, 30 percent of employed women looking after a frail or elderly person say they rarely or never feel their work and family responsibilities are in balance. These findings point to a need for the government to recognize the difficulty of workers trying to maintain a job and care for their parent. Sociologist Barbara Pocock believes the Fair Work Act should be changed to allow these people to request flexible working arrangements.

China: Commentary: 525m “Consumption As Retirement Plan”: A Pioneer in Online Shopping (February 10, 2012)

(Article in Chinese)
In 2010, 12.8 percent of China’s population was above 60. In China, there is no comprehensive policy that helps finance retirement, leading to disparities between preparedness of different segments of the population. Consumption As Retirement is an innovative new business model that takes consumer spending as capital and sends interest payments to consumers after they have made purchases from the online store. This creates a supplement to the usual means of financing retirement: basic insurance, wages, and savings.

CHINA: Nursing Home Residents Celebrated the Chinese New Year  (February 7, 2012)
(Article in Arabic)
The nursing home in Chwichiwan, Chuccioa province organized several commemorative activities which made older people happy on this special occasion.

Singapore: Commentary: Religion’s Role In An Aging Society (February 3, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Singapore is the 5th most rapidly aging population in Asia. This commentator thinks we leave out religion when discussing measures taken, even though religious organizations already share the burden of meeting societal needs such as psychiatric care and religious harmony. Religious participation among older people leads to outcomes such as optimism, social inclusion and fewer bad habits.

China: The Elderly Becoming Main Force in Travel Industry (January 31, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
As China ages and more children leave home, elderly retirees who have time and money now choose to travel. Travel agencies are starting to have specialized itineraries for older travelers. As older travelers are weaker, travel agencies avoid planning the usual exciting, fast-food style vacations. Instead, they focus on travel that is healthful such as scenic destinations with fresh air. 

China: Elderly in Beijing Seek “Second Springs” (January 31, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
By 2011, 13.7 percent of China’s population was above 60. In Beijing, older people gather in parks to seek new partners. However, the success rate is low. With increasing income inequality, women demand that men be better off, with desirable housing, than in the past. Society is unable to provide for an aging China. Nationwide, there are 38,000 elder care organizations with 2.6 million beds, representing a lack of more than 5 million beds.

China: 84-Year-Old Man Spent 3 Nights on Doorsteps of Daughter; Neighborhood to Sue Children on His Behalf (January 31, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Six children had an agreement to take care of their father on a monthly rotating basis. However, over the Chinese New Year celebrations, the youngest daughter was not at home, forcing him to stay outside on her doorstep. Other children refused to take him in. Neighbors sent the old man to the hospital because he had fallen ill. The neighborhood is suing the children on behalf of the man.

Japan: Japan Estimates Population to Shrink by One-Third by 2060, Seniors to Account for 40 Percent (January 30, 2012)
Japan’s population of 128 million will decrease by one-third and seniors will account for nearly 40 percent of the population by 2060. This will place greater stress on a smaller working-age population to support the social security and tax systems. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has promised to support social security and tax reforms this year. A proposed bill would raise the sales tax to 10 percent by 2015, although there is criticism of the proposal. Nonetheless, the government needs to reform the social safety net to reflect the demographic shift.

China: Beijing Launches Community Aging Pilot Project: Public Rental Units for Older People (27 January, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
The Beijing pilot project targets low to middle income who are living independently. These rental units occupy a separate space of land away from ordinary rental units and have facilities, such as large elevators (for stretchers), to accommodate  the needs of older singles or couples. If the pilot is successful, the government will make such  rental projects an important supplement to community aging. 

China: IT-driven Elder Care at Home:  Care and Concern Even During the Spring Festival (January 27, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Since 2009, Zhongshan City has offered residents 65 and older a service called “OKLink,” a 24-hour call center linking elderly at home with more than 300 services and 4 emergency hotlines. Needy elders get this service free. The call center is efficient because it has sufficient funds to keep records of personal details. For example, an ambulance dispatch through the call center is faster than through the regular hotline.

China: Zhejiang Province to Offer Preferential Treatment to Encourage Development of Non-Profit Homes for Older People (January 27, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
For the next three years, Zhejiang Province will offer subsidies to non-profit homes on a per-bed basis. In addition, the province will exempt non-profit homes from corporate and property taxes, offer tax rebates on charitable donations, and work with providers to offer discounted rates on utilities and amenities such as water and internet services.

Japan: Elderly to Get 24 Hour Nursing ‘Patrol’ (January 26, 2012)
The Japanese government will launch a 24-hour patrol service to help the elderly become more self-sufficient by easing in-home nursing care. At the start of the new fiscal year on April 1, public nursing care insurance will cover the costs of this program. With this new service, elderly people will be able to receive unlimited medical, nursing and general care services at a monthly cost of up to 30,000 yen.

China: Free Public Bus Rides for Those Aged 65 and Above in Wuhan (January 25, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
In addition, the government of Wuhan will raise the ceilings on free or subsidized home care for the elderly, benefitting an additional 1500 elderly residents. Combined with subsidizing bus travel for the elderly, the city will be forking out an additional 15 million RMB this year.

China: Bus Drivers Refuse to Allow Elderly to Board (January 19, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
In Wuhan, four buses refused to let an 88-year-old woman board. She walked 3.6km back home from a hospital visit. Nationwide, this is not an isolated case. Local governments subsidize bus companies so that the elderly ride for free. However, bus companies often cite reasons such as safety to reject the elderly or to force them to pay.  The writer condemns such behavior as immoral and a defiance of government policy.

Australia: Cut Tax Breaks for Seniors to Keep Surplus, Says ACOSS (January 12, 2012)
The Australian Council of Social Service believes the tax breaks for older Australians should be discarded to help fund important social and economic reforms without disrupting the promised budget surplus. Chief executive of ACOSS, Tessa Boyd-Caine, considers a sustained attack on wasteful expenditure and tax breaks to be essential when attempting to solve the tension between resources and need.

India: Introducing Seniors World Chronicle (January 2012)
Ravi Chawla, a 75-year-old former newspaper reporter, editor and publisher from Mumbai, India, launched Seniors World Chronicle after he retired in 2001. Based on inputs provided by international agencies, websites, newspapers, magazines and publications of organizations, the website focuses on Aging and Old Age-related topics and offers over 11,000 reports from 200 countries on 250 subjects. Along with providing extraordinarily useful material, Chawla is also the embodiment of active old age and the proof that one's skills and knowledge don’t go to waste after the age of retirement.

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