SEOUL, Mar. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — Experts are calling for guardianship programs that can support the decision-making process of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and persons with developmental or mental disabilities.
At a seminar held on Wednesday at the National Assembly to discuss the introduction of a new law that will govern various forms of assistance provided to seniors and others for decision-making, experts pointed out that only 1 percent of those who require adult guardianship in South Korea are actually using it.
Guardianship programs were introduced in South Korea in July 2013.
The system helps families of seniors and disabled persons who lack the decision-making capabilities by delegating the role of guardianship to the state. The state will be responsible for supporting and protecting them.
There are currently more than 1 million South Koreans, including seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and disabled persons, who qualify for the guardianship program.
However, the number of requests made to the South Korean court to join the guardianship program amounted to no more than 11,010 cases over the last five years.
“The guardianship system is stipulated in the civil law as well as legislation related to the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients and persons with developmental disabilities,” said Park Eun-soo, a senior advisor at Seoul based law firm Yulchon LLC.
“The problem comes from the practice of adding provisions case-by-case whenever there are demands to join the program.”
“The government should formulate a framework that could help the guardianship program be properly established before it’s too late,” Park added.
“A system should be put in place to help those who lack the decision-making capabilities to live with dignity in a socially integrated environment, along with studies and measures to make it work.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)