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Young firefighter's life not lost in vain

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-10 10:25

The elderly are more vulnerable to accidents

Firefighters' mission is to save lives irrespective of how young or old those trapped in a fire are. In the Fujian case, people shouldn't forget that even the 95-year-old woman trapped in the fire was a human being and her life was as valuable as any other. The only family member living with her was her daughter-in-law, another senior citizen who managed to survive this fire.

Given China's rapidly aging population, it is important and necessary for the entire society to take better care of senior citizens. In metropolises, for example, the annual average rate of increase in the aging population has been 1 percent in recent years. The sixth census data show that in Beijing, the number of people above 65 years of age accounts for about 10 percent of the city's total population. The current mainstream pattern of providing for the elderly mostly depends on home-based care, which can hardly meet their needs, particularly when it comes to the long-term care that the physically challenged senior citizens need.

Coordinated efforts by families and communities could help tackle this problem.

The central government has implemented the strategy of home-based care, complemented by community nursing service for the elderly. And it is the responsibility of social organizations and community residents to work together to build comprehensive community support networks. If such a scheme is put into practice and proves successful in more areas, more caregivers could come forward to provide eldercare and prevent a Fujian-like tragedy from happening again.

Wang Chunguang, director of Social Policy Center, Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

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