About 500,000 elderly people go missing in China every year, with most cases occurring in rural areas and smaller cities where younger generations have left hometown for work and elderly care is inadequate.
According to a survey jointly released on Sunday by the Zhongmin Social Assistance Institute and a leading news platform Toutiao, 1,370 senior citizens go missing every day, with an average age of 76. Women account for 58 percent of the total.
The survey noted that many of the missing suffer from mental illness, with 72 percent suffering from some form of memory impairment and 25 percent diagnosed with dementia.
According to the survey, many cases are related to poverty and the inadequate care provided by family members as they migrate to large cities in search of higher wages.
The survey calls for the establishment of a national network to record and find missing people, and recommends that aid centers arrange specialist personnel to look for missing persons.
It also suggests that local governments in areas with large population outflows cooperate with social groups to assess the living conditions of seniors citizens left at home, and explore effective methods to prevent such citizens from going missing.