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Comment & Response
March 2017

Perspectives on Care for the Elderly in China

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Soma Central Hospital, Soma, Japan
  • 3Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima, Japan
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(3):444. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9135

To the Editor In a Viewpoint in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine,1 Dong explained the difficult reality of care for the elderly in China. We have 3 comments.

First, elder abuse and neglect may be more common in rural areas than in large cities such as Shanghai. By the end of 2015, the number of migrant workers in China reached 277 million,2 a trend that may contribute to insufficient informal care for the elderly who remain in rural areas after their children relocate. Elderly adults in China often take care of grandchildren when their children work in urban areas.3 As a result, households consisting of only elderly adults and their grandchildren are increasing in rural areas and may impose physical and mental burdens. Although care for elderly adults in rural areas has drawn less attention than in urban areas, nearly half of the people in China still live in rural areas.

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