“Silver” Economy: A rosy future for the elderly

BEIJING, Feb. 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China.org.cn on China’s silver economy:

“Silver” Economy: A rosy future for the elderly

“Sir, it’s my grandma’s first day. Did she behave?”

“She did. She is the loudest singer in class.”

The dialogue comes from the comment section of a viral video capturing a singing class in a senior citizens’ college in Jiujiang, southeastern China’s Jiangxi province. During the lesson, the elderly students were so focused and adorable when they followed the melodies in the warm-ups.

Besides the senior citizens in these classes, there are many other elderly figures who have gone viral on Chinese social media, like the “Glammies” (the stylish grannies), fashion influencer grandpas, and beauty vlogger grandmas, all welcomed by young people in China. The lives of the elderly have become even more colorful, transforming the stereotype that old age means “feeble” and “droopy”.

How to let the elderly share the fruits of development and enjoy a happy retirement life has been a widely discussed issue. It bears closely on the core rights and interests of the senior citizens, and meanwhile, it is a must-solve problem given that the population is aging in China.

Recently, China issued the Guideline on Developing the Silver Economy to Enhance the Welfare of the Elderly (hereinafter referred to as “the Guideline”), the very first such instrument released by China’s State Council, aiming to strengthen the “silver” economy.

Though by name it’s called the “silver economy,” achieving economic growth via the elderly demographic is not the only purpose. The actual end is increasing the welfare of the senior citizens, during which discovering new demands and unleashing new impetus. The Guideline focuses on the aspects that the elderly really care about and the weak links in existing services. For example, many elderly people think cooking is too much trouble, so they just grab random bites; to solve this issue, cafeterias for the elderly have been set up, and take-out platforms and logistics companies are encouraged to provide food delivery services for the elderly, enabling more and more senior citizens to enjoy handy meals. Moreover, the Guideline looks beyond the basic needs of the elderly and focuses more on their demand for personal development. More and more elders have restarted their “school life,” and many have begun to perform in artistic shows, become vloggers, and take part in non-profit activities… They are pursuing the meaning and the many possibilities of life aside from food, clothes and shelter. New business models are being developed, including smart elderly care, elderly-care financing, and the customization of elderly-friendly apps and websites, so that more senior citizens can enjoy the benefits of the digital age.

Projections show that by 2035, the volume of China’s silver economy is expected to reach 30 trillion RMB. It’s not hard to imagine, with the gaps being bridged in existing elderly care services, new demands in art, physical fitness and entertainment will be continuously created, and the giant momentum behind the silver economy which covers all three sectors will gradually emerge.

Life for the elderly is not necessarily a dark journey toward the grave; instead, it could be ambitious, high-spirited and vigorous despite the aging body, and it could be a life of happiness and fulfillment.

China Mosaic 
“Silver” Economy: A rosy future for the elderly

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