We have been working with partners in China since 2003 to improve older people's financial security, healthcare and social participation.

Our work in Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces aims to tackle the poverty, health and care issues that older people often face.

We also strengthen older people's associations in rural Shaanxi and urban Sichuan to reduce older people's isolation and build community networks.

Life story: Zhao, 68


China case study older woman gets support from older people's association volunteer (c) HelpAge International

Ren gets support from her volunteer Hongyan (c) HelpAge International

Ren is 72 and lives in the village Tuqiao in the Linyou county in central China. She has no family nearby and is in poor health, spending most of her small income on medicine.
After her husband’s death in 2014, she has relied on her local older people’s association (OPA) for care and social support. Ren attends its community-led activities and this helps to address her loneliness.
"I can see other older people when I go to the activity centre. We spend time together and talk about things that matter to us," she said.
Through the OPA, a volunteer Hongyan visits Ren regularly to help with cooking, cleaning the house or just have a chat and provide support. 
"I thank her for her help and support. I feel a bit less lonely now as Hongyan is close to me."

Supporting older people in China


  • We have provided knowledge and good practice from older people’s associations to relevant authorities so they can set up better health services in communities. This includes expanding associations on ageing and encouraging volunteering among older people.

Livelihoods support

  • We have provided small loans to 380 older people in rural villages in Shaanxi through community-based organisations.

Home care

  • We have worked alongside 40 older people's associations to promote healthy ageing and have established community-based home care for over 565 vulnerable and isolated older people in Shaanxi province and Sichuan province.

What next?

  • In partnership with the Shaanxi Provincial Committee on Ageing, we will continue to support the agricultural livelihoods, health awareness and home care for older people and their families in poor villages in western China.
  • We will continue to support local authorities in Shaanxi by sharing experience and providing technical support to expand older people's associations in rural areas of Shaanxi.
  • We will grow our network of partners who work on ageing through the Shaanxi Yihe Development Centre on Ageing,=.

Our Affiliates

The China National Committee on Ageing (CNCA)

Our partners

Shaanxi Yihe Development Centre on Ageing, Shaanxi Provincial Committee on Ageing, Sichuan University

Our donors

Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, Metlife

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Striking facts

  • In 2014, China's 200 million older people accounted for 15% of the total population. By 2050, that figure will rise to 30%.

  • More than 10% of older people in China live alone and 42% with spouses only - lack care and social support is a big challenge.
  • There are more than 490,000 older people's associations across China.

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Contact us

Deng Xueyi (Bob)
Director, Yihe Development Centre on Ageing
Room 2-052, Building 14, Baihualinju Yangguanggu, No. 86 Wenjinglu, Xi'an 710021, Shaanxi Province

Tel: +86 29 8619 5866
Bob's mobile: +86 133 1928 8189
Email: helpagechina@foxmail.com

Meredith Wyse
HelpAge International
6 Soi 17, Nimmanhemin Road Suthep, Muang
Chiang Mai 50200

Tel: +66 53225440
Fax: +66 53225441
Email: meredith@helpageasia.org