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Rural Aging Issues
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Asia Pacific

China: National People’s Congress Deputy: Rural Aging Standards Too Low (March 9, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
In an online session between the eleventh National People’s Congress, Deputy Zhu Jianhua agrees that rural elderly people face low levels of retirement security, particularly with pensions and medical insurance coverage in rural areas.  The deputy suggests that the government set policy, that society has to actively participate and that citizens have to be personally involved.

China: Rural Elderly: Poverty’s “Lonely Sunset” (February 22, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
A 70-year-old man with an ailing wife toils in his three vegetable fields and rears domesticated animals. He has not seen his son and daughter for years, as they are too poor to visit. He is not an isolated case in rural China. He is most afraid of falling ill and becoming a burden to his children. Currently, close to 20 million above 65 years of age are left in rural areas. A study in Anhui province shows that the depression rate among the rural elderly is 37.6 percent. Nationwide, 36 percent of suicides are above 55. The suicide rate for rural elderly in China is 4 to 5 times higher than the global average.

China: Hebei: More Elderly People Left Behind in Rural Areas; Better Nursing Home Facilities (January 27, 2012)
(Article in Chinese)
Nursing homes are usually associated with cities. However, as more working adults choose to leave for the cities, they realize the attractiveness of nursing homes. In the past, both parents and children saw elder care as a child’s obligation, and not fulfilling it meant the child lacked filial piety. Now, mindsets have changed. Isn’t it better to stay with friends or with specialized caretakers?

Europe and Central Asia

France: State Has Abandoned Rural Areas (April 9, 2012)
(Article in French)
For Le Pen, National Front candidate in the presidential election, "the state has abandoned the countryside and genuine France." It is in these terms that the President of the far-right party spoke in a small rural town, presenting herself as the candidate of rural areas, despised by politicians. She deplored the low wages and pensions in rural areas, and proposed that all pensions of the agricultural sector be revalued to at least 85 percent of the minimum wage.

France: "We Want to Change Our Image" (March 29, 2012)
(Article in French)
The first network of rural retirees and elderly people of the country, Rural Elders, composed of 700,000 members grouped in 9,000 clubs, has completed its annual seminar. It is for the leaders of the various federations the opportunity to rethink network strategy. This year, the President highlighted the fact that the group will have to be renewed and modernized to attract the attention of not only those involved but also the interest of urban people.

France: Rural Elders Satisfied With Life (March 19, 2012)
(Article in French)
The Institute of Public Health, Epidemiology and Development of Bordeaux conducted a study revealing that retirees living in rural areas feel physically better than urban dwellers. For this study, 1,002 elderly people living in the countryside have been followed for four years by a neuropsychiatrist and a doctor. The medical team has done blood and full gerontology tests. The survey took into account many factors, such as the environment, lifestyle, education level, utilization of health care and social benefits.

France: Average Pension for Farmers is 680 €, Well Below Poverty Line (March 14, 2012)

(Article in French)
Luke Smessaert, president of the main French farmers' union, stated that the average pension for a farmer was 680 € per month and 450 € for his wife, whose career is often interrupted by family needs. These figures are well below the national poverty line, which corresponds to an income of 954 € per month. He denounces the injustices faced by farmers, especially the difference in the calculation of pension and length of working time.

France: FNSEA Collected Over 80,000 Signatures for a Fairer Agricultural Retirement (March 7, 2012)
(Article in French)
Following their annual conference, members of the National Federation of Farmers' Unions (FNSEA) have sent a petition to all presidential election candidates requesting a review and new national measures for agricultural pensions. Over 80,000 people across the country signed the petition. They reminded that most of agricultural pensioners have incomes below the poverty rate and have lamented the fact that farmers are not considered as other workers.

France: Towards New Services for the Elderly in Rural Areas (February 20, 2012)
(Article in French)
The Social Organization for Agriculture (MSA), the network of shelters for rural elderly (MARPA) and the hotline “Presence Green” have decided to join forces to test and develop new devices to secure homes for the elderly in rural areas. Provided by telephone, the service is built around a call center and the presence of counselors able to meet the needs of seniors living outside the cities.


Middle East and North Africa





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