This paper examines China’s efforts to meet the challenges posed by its rapidly growing elderly population with an emerging care model: community, home-based elder care, integrated with smart, digital technologies. When fully developed, this model of care has the potential to keep China’s older adults more fully engaged in society, while simultaneously reducing national spending. As this paper demonstrates, good care policy can be great economic and fiscal policy.
Population aging is one of the most significant developments in the world. By 2040, the number of people over age 65, worldwide, will increase to 1.3 billion, or 14 percent of the world’s population. In China, the population is aging at an especially rapid pace. Over the next few years, the number of elderly Chinese will increase, on average, by 8.6 million people per year. The country’s “oldest-old” segment will grow even more dramatically, increasing from 1% of the total Chinese population in 2000 to nearly 8% by mid-century. By 2050, China’s 80+ population will be roughly the same size as the global 80+ was in 2010.