SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — One in 5 elderly people in South Korea is socially inactive, necessitating greater care for their isolation and loneliness, a report said Friday.
According to the report based on a 2017 survey of 10,000 senior citizens, 20.9 percent of the respondents said they were not socially active at all.
By gender, 23.3 percent of the polled male seniors didn’t engage in any social activity, while the corresponding figure stood at 19.2 percent for elderly women.
The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs conducted the survey on seven social activity categories: travel, learning, clubs, fraternities, political and social activism, volunteer work and religion.
According to the findings, 32.4 percent of the respondents, the largest portion, engaged in one social activity, followed by two activities with 25.7 percent and three with 14.7 percent. Slightly over 6 percent took part in four or more activities.
The institute called on the central and provincial governments to pay more attention to the welfare of those socially isolated elderly people.
“There is a need for greater support for and attention to those isolated seniors as they are at risk of mental problems, social isolation and lonely deaths,” it said.
The report, meanwhile, showed 3 in 10 senior citizens in South Korea are economically active with the average age of those inside the labor force reaching 71.6 years.
The report comes as South Korea is faced with the daunting task of greater welfare for the elderly because of fast population aging in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
South Korea became an aged society in 2017, with more than 14 percent of its 50 million population aged 65 or older. It is forecast to become a super-aged society in 2026, with the figure topping 20 percent.