Yellow ribbons help the elderly call from empty nests in Yanji

Updated: 2014-05-02 11:18

By Xinhua in Changchun (China Daily)

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Zheng Mingzi, 79, said she has struggled since her husband died this year, leaving her to endure loneliness as her children live abroad.

In 2009, Yanbian prefecture's government began building residential courtyards for the elderly in rural villages. People can entertain themselves with games like mahjong or chess, or join singing or dancing groups.

So far, 1,048 such courtyards have been set up across the prefecture.

Hong Qing, the prefecture's deputy chief, said the government is still facing many problems in coping with the empty-nest problem, especially since the elderly population is rising fast.

Statistics from the prefecture show that the elderly population will exceed 500,000 by 2020, a staggering increase from the current 350,000.

"We are trying to improve infrastructure, build associations for the elderly, and use legislation to ensure a more stable and colorful life for empty-nest families," Hong said.

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