If you apply now for a bed in Beijing's leading Social Welfare Institute, a popular public nursing home, you will have to wait a lifetime before you get one.
The first publicly owned and most sought after Beijing nursing home has 1,100 beds and over 10,000 applicants, a report by the Beijing Evening News said.
The nursing home admits only a limited number of people a year, which means a lucky applicant will wait at least 100 years before being admitted, said a staffer.
Beijing No.1 Social Welfare Institute offers quality care, has a convenient location, and is relatively affordable, said Su Ying (not her real name), a 36-year-old Beijing resident, who tried to enroll her mother.
Su’s mother is paralysed and needs professional care. But Su, a mother of two children herself, said it was impossible to care for her mother because she was too busy. It was also now too difficult for her ageing father to care for his wife. The only solution was to put her in a nursing home.
It’s not easy to find the right place for Beijing's old people. With good public nursing homes hard to get into, some people have turned to private homes. Those provide good service, but also charge high fees. A quality nusing home in Beijing’s Shuangjin district charges 250,000 yuan a year, said the report.
Less affluent older people are sometimes forced to settle for nursing homes in the suburbs, which are less popular due to their distance from the city centre.
While old people are traditionally looked after by their children in China, more people have turned to nursing homes because the one-child-only policy has made it a difficult job for only child . Although going to a nursing home is still viewed as an inferior option by many elderly peple, others believe it’s now inevitable.
A government report released in 2011 shows 450, 000 Beijing seniors live independently from their children.