First 'only-child' couples face new pressures

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CRI, August 26, 2010
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Thirty years since China's family planning policy took effect, the first 'only-child' generation have now become parents of their own children. Therefore, the massive pressure of taking care of four parents plus one child has inevitably fallen onto these young people.

In China, it has been recognized for a long time that the elderly should be taken care of by their children. However, as the family structure changes, the group of "only child" feel more and more helpless in doing so.

A graduate student surnamed Liu told China News Service that his only standard for choosing a partner is someone who isn't an only child. Liu explained that he is from a poor family which has supported him all these years through his studies, so if his partner is also an only child, they two will have to do everything to attend to the four parents, which is too demanding in big cities.

It is reported that a total of 6.07 million families received the "only-child" certificates in 1979.

As for the dilemma of attending to the elderly, some experts note that making use of the community services would help tackle the problem.

Xu Lin, director with the social security department of Northwest University, pointed out that considering the current situation in China, the government should establish more rest homes or welfare houses, and create a better environment for the elderly at local communities.

As one of the pilot programs, the first "virtual home" for the elderly in China's northwest region was launched in last December in Lanzhou city of Gansu Province. With this new type of rest home, the elderly can simply dial the hotline and enjoy a whole set of 61 services at their own home, which include living care, medical attendance, housework, psychological and legal consultation.

The report says based on China's traditional way of taking care of the elderly, such "rest homes" without walls are going to be popular, since not many Chinese people are used to sending their old parents to live in rest homes.

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