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“This is not only the job of these universities; there should be a social mechanism,” he said, adding that the elderly should be provided with more opportunities to participate in health care management, social events, and community service.With the legal retirement age set at 50 for women (55 for female civil servants) and 60 for men, and an overall life expectancy of 76.3 years, how to address the needs of this growing demographic has become an increasingly difficult problem to solve.And now that the first generation of parents affected by the one-child policy, enacted in 1980, is poised to retire, many are also faced with the so-called empty nest problem, with children living far away from their parents and grandparents.“Universities for seniors can help relieve their loneliness,” said Peng Xizhe, dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University in Shanghai and an expert on China’s aging crisis.“I don’t feel tired or bored playing the same song for hours because this is what I am passionate about,” she said.
Today, Liu is the top student in her class, and just one of the more than 7 million elderly Chinese who are studying at special universities — also referred to as “third-age” universities — and similar institutes for continuing education across China.
After she retired from her last job at a clothing company, Liu decided that it was finally time to chase after her dream.
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