A medical worker gives check-up to an elderly woman (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam should pay more policy attention to elderly women given the fact that the number of them is now much higher than that of elderly men, an official has said.

Mai Xuan Phuong, Deputy Director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning’s Communication-Education Division, added elderly women are likely to face more risks than their male peers in regard to income and access to medical services as most of old people in Vietnam do not have pension or allowance while bearing disease burdens.

He elaborated that there are 200 women aged 80 and above in every 100 men of the same age group in Vietnam at present. The respective ratios for the 70-79 and 60-69 age groups are 149/100 and 131/100.

The 2009 general census showed the number of elderly widows were almost 5.5 times higher than that of elderly widowers.

Meanwhile, the number of people aged between 60 and 69 increased slowly. A faster speed was seen in the expansion of the age groups of 70-79 and 80 and above, according to four censuses conducted from 1979 to 2009.

The General Statistics Office forecast in 2010 that the oldest age group, 80 and over, will surge at the most rapid pace between 2009 and 2049 when Vietnam enters the phase of aging population. Such a speed will also have strong impacts on the family structure.

There is now an increasing number of the elderly, including those who live single due to the growing trend towards nuclear family (consisting of only parents and children).

A survey on household living standards revealed that the rate of the elderly living with their children sank from nearly 80 percent in 1993 to 62 percent in 2008. Notably, the rate of old singles or families with only elderly couples hiked sharply, from 12 percent to 30 percent during the period.-VNA