Chinese nursing homes running out of beds

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China currently only has 266,200 nursing home beds, which is only 1.59% of China's 167 million senior citizens, according to Dou Yupei, China's vice minister of civil affairs, a Chinese Radio International report said.

Demand for the limited nursing home beds is going to get worse, officials at the ministry said. At the end of 2009, 11.4% of the 167 million seniors were older than 80 years of age and unable to live independently.

Ministry officials told Chinese Radio International that the government will encourage private sector nursing homes to enter the market and improve services. In coming years, public nursing homes will primarily accept low-income seniors and those without any family help. The government will also provide financial help to low-income seniors with mental or physical disabilities.

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