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Opinion / Huang Xiangyang

Rising cost of elderly care offers huge profit potential

By Huang Xiangyang (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-19 10:37

Rising cost of elderly care offers huge profit potential

Elderly people enjoy themselves at a community service center in Chenzhou, Hunan province.[He Maofeng/China Daily]

For years my parents, both in their 80s, have lived alone in an apartment in downtown Beijing by themselves.

A domestic helper comes twice a week to help them with household chores such as cooking, washing clothes, and cleaning the house. My mother, 82, runs most errands, buying groceries and occasionally picking up medicine at the hospital. My father, 86, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, stays at home most of the time, watching TV or reading newspapers.

Both have pensions, of around 6,000 yuan ($910) each month, so they basically have nothing to worry about except their health.

Everything seemed to be going well, until recently when my father's health took a sharp turn for the worse. He seems to have become much more frail and feeble overnight. Each week as I drove them to restaurants for a family meal, I could feel the obvious changes in my father's physical and even mental strength. He started stumbling after walking only a dozen meters, even with the help of a walking stick. He has to struggle standing up from his seat at the dining table. He is even turning quieter, speaking much less and slowly, in sharp contrast with his eloquence that used to impress me during our previous get-togethers.

My mother told me that she found my father sometimes messing things up at home, such as spilling food when eating alone. Worse, he once fell on the floor and could not stand up by himself. She has found it impossible to deal with all the troubles.

So now it seems I have to consider how to deal with a common problem that each family faces: care for the elderly. It is an issue with a rising sense of urgency as the country is aging rapidly.

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