Opinion / From the Press

Senior citizens need company

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-12 09:12

A 71-year-old living alone in Chongqing reportedly called the 110 emergency hotline 1,483 times in one year. Although most of the time he called the hotline for trivial reasons, such as not being able to find his keys or hurting himself in a fall, the real reason was that he needed to talk to someone because he felt lonely, says an article on Excerpts:

The senior citizen in Southwest China's Chongqing called the hotline almost four times a day on average simply because he needed to talk to someone to overcome his loneliness. His case may be rare, but it reflects one of the biggest problems facing senior citizens living alone. This is serious problem because the population of elderly people in China is set to reach 200 million by the end of this year and grow by about 8 million every year.

Most of the elderly people living alone face the same problem. Some of them seek solace in religion or keep pets to meet their emotional and spiritual needs. A few of them have even been forced to attempt suicide because they couldn't cope with their loneliness.

Therefore, it is important that the government, society and particularly family members pay more attention to the needs of senior citizens. People whose parents live alone should not only provide them financial support, but also visit them or at least talk to them over the phone regularly. Some young people don't visit their parents because they want to avoid their nagging behavior, which is wrong.

The government, on its part, should accelerate the setting up of a sound social service system for the elderly, which should have provisions for entertainment and recreational facilities. Also, it needs to make arrangements to provide counseling for senior citizens, especially for those living alone.

And the development of nonprofit old-age service facilities should be promoted, which should include assigning volunteers to spend some time regularly with elderly people living alone.


Most Viewed Today's Top News