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An Out-of-the-Box Solution to Deal with the Silver Tsunami


It is common knowledge that economic development and low birth rate are correlated, which results in ageing population. This is especially true in the case of countries like Japan, Singapore, South Korea and China. Despite the pace of economic development in these countries, however, the rising need for elderly care still leads to high debt-to-income ratio among the patients. South Korea, for one, has the highest debt-to-income ratio among the people aged 60 and above, according to a report by the Korea Development Institute.[1]

In the case of China, the rapidly ageing population has resulted in the rapid rise of the need for caregivers, which in turn resulted in poor regulation of the caregiving industry.[2] This is made worse by the huge imbalance between the demand and the supply of elderly care infrastructure. China has around 4 million nursing homes, while there are around 30 million Chinese aged 80 or above.[3] Furthermore, elderly in the country are also faced with a challenge concerning lack of finances for their healthcare needs. According to a report from China Bank and Deutsche Bank, billions of dollars are lacking in the Chinese social security fund.[4]

In order for China to confront the challenge, an out-of-the-box solution has to be resorted to. One such solution is to tap domestic helpers and even family members of the elderly and provide them with training that will enable them to use medical technology for geriatrics. The services of these technologically equipped caregivers may also be on-demand, helping the elderly cut on healthcare cost by paying only for the services they need at a time.