Elderly migrant (漂族老人：Piāo Zú Lǎo Rén) refer to senior citizens who leave their hometowns for big cities to reunite with their children. The population of the elderly migrants has increased dramatically in recent years because of the continuous flow of the workforce migrating from small villages and towns to big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Elderly migrants make up more and more of the country’s senior population – 144 million people are over 60, or 10 percent of the population. But living in an unfamiliar environment is a big challenge for the elderly migrants, who face much loneliness and many inconveniences. They are often embarrassed by their heavy accents, feel uneasy about showing their identity cards because their residential permits are not registered in the big cities and face problems with their health-care accounts, which are funded in their hometowns and impossible to transfer.
Ding Liping, a psychological professor at Hunan No. 1 Normal College, said that those seniors are prone to psychiatric diseases if they are not psychologically able to adjust to their new environments. To ensure that elderly migrants live better, some experts suggest the government take measures to guarantee the equality between the migrant and local elders. According to Xiao Tiejian, professor of social sciences at Central South University, elderly migrants should enjoy the same services provided by communities for elderly locals. The government should also carry out policies to make social welfare more accessible to them.