SEOUL, Korea, April 4 (Korea Bizwire) – To prevent unattended deaths or suicides of senior citizens who are living alone, the Korean government takes measures such as making friends among themselves and providing facilities where they can live together.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare will launch pilot projects targeting for living-alone seniors in urban areas by categorizing the characteristics of the seniors and offering psychotherapy and recreation programs.
For example, for those who are withdrawing themselves socially living in their single rooms or rented houses, the government will offer community programs where they can find friends at least more than one. For those who are suffering from depression thus have more possibility of suicide, it will offer counseling and outdoor programs.
For those who are just socially inactive, it will urge them to join various volunteer activities organized by local governments. Recently, there are many cases of unattended deaths, dying alone and being found after months or even years later among those seniors who lived alone.
National fund established for China’s lonely elderly (Xinhua, Mar 28)
For the Elderly, Loneliness Is a Health Risk Factor (Doctor Tipster, April 1)
Helping elderly tackle loneliness (ITV, Mar 5)
Dementia and elderly loneliness in the Harrogate district (Ripon Today, Mar 26)
Loneliness is latest health risk and twice as harmful as obesity (Daily Mail, April 3)
An official at the ministry said, “There is a saying that just one friend can be a reason enough for living. If the living-alone seniors can get together, they will be encouraged for their lives.”
According to the ministry, the number of living-alone seniors was some 1.25 million as of the end of 2013, a 2.2-fold increase from some 540,000 in 2000. According to the ministry’s projection, the number will increase to 3.43 million by 2035.
Written by John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)