“China is so big, while Denmark is so small. But we face the same core challenge from the aging society. In Denmark we have had some experience dealing with the issue, which China can borrow from. China can start from where we are now, and avoid the mistakes we have made,” Minister of Health Astrid Krag said during her visit in China, Xinhua reported.
Astrid Krag led a business delegation to Beijing in late August to seek “even stronger cooperation” in the field with China.
It was her first visit to China and the delegation included managers, academics and personnel in healthcare.
Astrid Krag also met Wang Pei’an, vice-minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, who said the Chinese aged-care system faces stiff challenges.
“As the country with the most aged population, China is turning older before getting wealthier,” Wang says. “There are many disabled elderly and empty nesters, and a high proportion of the poor are older people,” he added.
More than 194 million Chinese citizens were aged 60 and above last year, accounting for 14.3 percent of the population. The figure will reach 300 million by 2025, the Ministry of Civil Affairs says.
In comparison one in every four Danish citizens will be older than 65 years by 2050. The sharp rise in the Danish elderly population will be in those individuals in most critical need of care, those over 80. This group alone is expected to grow 20 percent over the next 20 years, says the Home Instead Senior Care Network, a global senior care organization based in the US. The number of those aged over 80 in Denmark will double by 2030, Krag said according to Xinhua.
“Over the years we have built a social structure with skilled personnel who are not nurses or doctors but trained specialists helping elderly citizens,” she added.