Elderly Care Dispute Highlights Growing Social Change in Nanjing

Nanjing Elderly Protests

Protesting residents of a community in Xuanwu district have led to the dismissal of development plans for a new nursing home/hospice, that was to be located on Hongshan Jie in northern Nanjing. The ongoing issue over the development of new nursing homes has brought to light contrasting views of elderly care between the younger and older population of both Nanjing and China.

An official from the Medical and Health Branch of the Xuanwu District Health Bureau stated that, due to opposition from the community residents, they would fully respect public opinion and would not approve or give permission to set up the elderly care home, reported Shanghai-based The Paper.

Since most of the residents protesting in the community were of older age, it makes sense that they would oppose the plans for a new nursing home. Family tradition for Chinese people involves parents, and sometimes even grandparents, living at home with their children after they retire and until their death. For the majority, the young and old living together is a source of joy and good fortune. Breaking from this tradition and sending the elderly off to live in a nursing home is considered immoral and is a hot topic amongst China’s younger generations, whom argue working responsibilities and stress is greater these days than those of their parents.

As recently reported by the Yangtze Evening News, however, “According to data collected in 2017… The ratio of children’s dependency to their parents was 14.04 percent, while the ratio of elderly dependents to dependent ones was 15.37 percent, with the characteristics of ‘high birth and low death’. Nanjing has more and more families with ‘older and younger’ and the burden is getting heavier”.

Such a situation is highlighting the fact that, while China continues to grow its younger population, its elderly are living longer too, and while the traditional idea of the whole family under one roof is desirable, its becoming less and less of a realistic situation.

28-year-old Alice Wang who has lived in Nanjing her whole life says of the idea of a hospice operating next door to her, “Young Chinese people don’t really care about this issue, it is more so the elderly. If it were me I wouldn’t care; however, if it had a morgue then I would think twice about it”.

As the number of millennials having babies in Nanjing increases, so does the process of urbanisation. Compared to other cities in Jiangsu province, the Nanjing’s urbanisation rate ranks first in the province. A desired independence for millennials and a resistance to nursing homes, together resulting in a lack of elderly care, continues to be an ongoing issue in Nanjing.

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Stacy Dahl
Stacy Dahl is an American expat living in Nanjing, writing for for her university's newspaper throughout college as well as several other magazines and newspapers in Minnesota. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, reading, hiking and satisfying her coffee addiction. Stacy Dahl是一名美国外籍人士,居住在中国南京。 她在大学期间为她的大学报纸以及明尼苏达州的其他几家杂志和报纸写信。 在空闲时间,她喜欢旅行,阅读书籍,徒步旅行,并满足她的咖啡瘾。