SEOUL, May 16 (Korea Bizwire) – A significantly greater number of people in Seoul now believe it’s up to parents themselves to plan for old age and illness compared to ten years ago, figures published by the Seoul Institute yesterday revealed.
According to an infographic highlighting the opinions of Seoul residents on who should be responsible for preparing parents for old age, over 19 percent said that parents themselves should take responsibility for their life after retirement, up nearly 250 percent from 7.7 percent in 2006.
However, most respondents from last year still believed family members, the government and society need to share the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of elderly people in the country, accounting for 45.6 percent, while nearly 30 percent said it solely comes down to family to look after their senior family members.
The Seoul Institute’s latest figures shed light on the shift towards a more independent lifestyle among elders in recent years, moving away from ten years ago when nearly nine in ten people believed it was either family, the government, or society’s responsibility to take care of the older generations.
Last year’s figures on who covers the living expenses of elderly parents further solidified the trend towards independence among elders, as 58.4 per cent said parents should cover their cost of living on their own, up 10.6 percent from 2006.
In the meantime, figures for those who said either children, the firstborn son or the daughter-in-law should cover the living expenses of their parents all decreased, while seven in ten respondents said any child should take on the burden, all of which reflect the diminishing pressure placed traditionally on the oldest son to solely take on the role as the main caretaker in the family.
Earlier this month, data released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed South Korea has the highest employment rate of seniors among advanced countries, due to lax social welfare, pension systems and the resultant high senior poverty rate, far surpassing the OECD average of 4.8 percent.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)