Editorials

Meeting the needs of elderly people in China

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7564.363 (Published 17 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:363
  1. Tuohong Zhang, associate professor ([email protected]),
  2. Yude Chen, professor
  1. School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100083, China
  2. School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100083, China

    Community health care is a good idea but unsatisfactorily implemented

    Like its neighbours Thailand and South Korea,13 China is facing the challenge of a rapidly ageing population. The proportion of people aged over 65 reached 6.9% in 2000 and is predicted to be as high as 22.7% in 2050.4 Although the Chinese population is currently younger than the UK population (which in 2002 had 16% of people over 65),5 the proportion of older people is growing faster than in the UK. People over 60 currently make up 10.9% of the population in China, projected to rise to 31.0% in 2050, compared with 21.2% rising to 29.4% in the United Kingdom.6

    Ageing leads to increased healthcare needs and to changes in the modes and content of healthcare delivery—from narrow, merely medical treatment to integrated, community based health care, for example. These changes have already happened in areas with ageing populations, such as some European countries, Japan and South Korea.2 3 Integrated, community based health care has proved …

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