Elderly Care System Development Forum – A Case Study of Yichang City and International Experience Exchange

Asia and the Pacific are aging rapidly. In 2022, the region’s population aged 65 and older is around 373 million (UNFPA, 2022), while it is projected that by 2050 it will increase to 954 million (UN, 2019). In many countries, aging is occurring faster than increases in per capita income, resulting in major implications for the welfare of older adults and significant social-economic challenges. The People's Republic of China (PRC) is one such country, with the largest older population globally, aging at fast pace. The proportion of people aged 60 and above is expected to increase from 18.7% in 2020 to 35.0% by 2050. Rapid urbanization and the previous one-child policy have weakened the traditional family support systems. Over the past two decades, the PRC has prioritized developing comprehensive elderly care systems to address these challenges.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has supported the PRC’s elderly care system development through structural and non-structural interventions. In Yichang City, Hubei province, ADB has provided one KSTA and two loan projects since 2014 to support strategic planning, elderly and geriatric care facilities construction and operation, human resource development, institutional strengthening, and capacity building. A great amount of operational knowledge and lessons have been harvested from the long-term partnership, including innovative practices such as public-private partnerships. A strong demonstration effect of the partnership is observed as Yichang was listed the first batch of National Key Contact Cities for actively responding to aging population.

ADB and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) will jointly host an online international forum on elderly care system development to encourage dialogue, knowledge exchange from policy and specific program implementation, and discussion of future opportunities and challenges. The conference will consist of several keynote speeches, a case study of Yichang City, a south-south knowledge sharing workshop and thematic workshops attended by high-profile speakers, sharing international practices. Technical support to the program comes from the ADB–PRC Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative, the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Institute, the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute, the Chinese University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen, the Harvard Social Technology for Global Aging Research Initiative, and the Social Technology Innovation Center for Aging of Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute.

The objectives of this forum are to:
(i) enhance knowledge exchange from ADB’s elderly care projects for possible replication of innovative practices, particularly a detailed case study of ADB and YMG’s long-term partnership in elderly-case system development.
(ii) strengthen capacity of ADB developing member countries to better plan, design, implement, and monitor programs for elderly care system development and other aging strategic plans.
(iii) trigger dialogue and develop future partnerships on elderly care and adaptation to an aging demographic.