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Lhasa faces aging society

06-09-2011 13:58 BJT

LHASA, June 9 (Xinhua) -- One out of every eight residents in the city of Lhasa is over the age of 60, according to a recent government survey.

By the end of this year, about 70,000 of Lhasa's 560,000 residents will be 60 years of age or older, said Tharchin, an official with the civil affairs bureau of Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

He quoted the results of a survey that his bureau conducted in April.

"We handed out forms to all communities in Lhasa's city center, as well as seven counties on the outskirts of the city, in order to get an exact head count for our senior citizens," said Tharchin.

He said Lhasa's aging population is expanding fast. Last year, about one out of every 10 residents was over 60 years old, he said.

The central government has worked to keep up with the city's aging population by spending more money to ensure free medical service for the city's residents. Nursing homes for elderly people who have no family members to take care of them have also been constructed.

Lhasa has 44 nursing homes and senior citizens' centers, which are capable of accommodating 920 people.

As Tharchin sees it, aging is "not entirely a bad thing."

"It's a sign of a better life and longer life expectancy," he said.

Figures provided by the regional government indicate that Tibetans' average life expectancy has nearly doubled, from 35.5 years in 1959 to the current average of 67 years of age.

"By 2015, we hope the average life expectancy will increase to 68 years," Tharchin said, quoting Tibet's plan for economic and social development for the coming five years.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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