BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- China's senior population -- those aged 60 and above -- is expected to reach 255 million by 2020, according to a State Council plan.
By 2020, senior citizens will account for 17.8 percent of the total population, and the number of people aged 80 or older will reach 29 million, said the plan on the development of the elderly during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period.
According to the plan, China will provide better senior care services by improving the social security system and enabling both the government and market to function.
"The plan aims to deal with challenges brought by an aging society in the next 30 years, and has set top-level policy for the country's eldercare development," said Lu Jiehua, a professor at Peking University.
Lu stressed problems such as unbalanced regional development, as eldercare service in rural areas faces great challenges.
Jiang Hongwei, secretary-general of the China Health and Senior Care Industry Alliance, said that although the country had accomplished the 2010-2015 goal of adding nursing home beds for the elderly, half of them remain empty.
Lu suggested policies to address the aging society should be upgraded to the national level and more efforts should be made by governments.