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City has senior priority

SHANGHAI so far has 534,400 residents over 80 years old, representing almost 18 percent of the population over 60 years old, according to the city's Population and Family Planning Commission.

Last year Shanghai's average life expectancy reached 81.28 years.

Elderly couples with only one child (under the family planning policy launched in the late 1970s) will become the largest segment of the aging.

The city has around 3.05 million one-child families and there are more than 6.01 million parents.

It is estimated that by 2013 more than 80 percent of those turning 60 will have only one child. After 2018, the city will have 230,000 to 240,000 elderly with one kid joining the aging group every year.

By 2030, the city will have 5 to 6 million people over 60, almost 30 percent of the total population.

The rate of aging downtown is higher than that in suburban districts, and caring and housing for this group has become an important part of the city agenda.

Renovating old apartments and building more retirement communities are an urgent task, according to Wang Ying, director of the Shanghai Tongji University's Urban Planning and Design Institute.

"Renovating old communities is more feasible," Wang says, citing research showing that improved kitchen and bathroom facilities are the improvements most welcomed by the elderly.


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