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Beijing offers assistance to elderly couples

China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-06 07:12

Beijing's Xicheng district is to provide tailored assistance to senior citizens who have lost their only child, as caring for elderly parents becomes a growing problem nationwide.

Volunteers provide regular services to such families, including health checkups, grocery shopping and household chores, as part of a pilot project that started this month.

Volunteers from professional social work organizations will regularly visit such senior citizens to help with household chores, read newspapers to them, celebrate birthdays and take them on occasional tours.

For those suffering serious psychological problems, the district government said it would also provide psychologists for therapy and treatment.

Along with the economic difficulties experienced by elderly people with no children to help support them, psychological problems are a major concern.

According to the Beijing municipal government, 8,781 parents in the capital had lost an only child as of May, and many are impoverished.

The city is to invest 24.49 million yuan ($4 million) this year to cover pensions and healthcare for such residents.

The city spent 21.6 million yuan last year taking care of 7,746 parents of a deceased only child, the Beijing Commission of Population and Family Planning said.

The Xicheng district government said middle-aged parents who have lost an only child also qualify for the volunteer service.

Families who have had or adopted another child are not eligible, the authority said.

Zheng Xin

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