SEOUL, May 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Fewer than than 2 out of 10 senior citizens thought living together with their children was desirable, according to a survey released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Among the respondents, 7 out of 10 were found to be living apart from their children, while 6 out of 10 preferred to live out their lives in their current dwelling, even if they their physical conditions made it difficult to go about.
This is according to the Ministry’s 2017 rendition of “Research on Senior Citizens,” a survey that has been performed every three years from 2008.
The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs carried out the study on behalf of the Ministry between April and November last year, surveying 10,299 senior citizens nation-wide.
At 72 percent the vast majority of respondents were found to be living apart from their children, either living with their spouse (48.4 percent) or alone (23.6 percent).
The percentage of households composed only of elderly couples increased 1.3 percentage points from 47.1 percent in 2008, while the percentage of single households increased 3.9 percentage points from 19.7 percent.
The ministry predicts that the overall percentage of senior citizens living alone is likely to rise as the number of respondents who thought “living with their children is desirable” fell by half from 32.5 percent in 2008 to 15.2 percent in 2017.
In addition, the proportion of those who answered that they had “no difficulty living alone” grew significantly from 12.7 percent in 2014 to 44.5 percent in 2017.
However, there were many low-income respondents over 85 who said they were burdened by issues relating to their health, the economy and their psychological state.
Among the senior citizens surveyed, 88.6 percent said that they preferred to live in their current residence while they were still healthy, while 57.6 percent said that they desired to stay at their current home even if their mobility was marginalized.
Another 31.9 percent of senior citizens hoped to be housed in nursing homes where food and other services would be provided.
The survey also revealed that 21.1 percent of respondents said that they had noticed signs of depression, while 6.7 percent said they had considered committing suicide.
In addition, 13.2 percent of the seniors surveyed had attempted to take their own lives.
The Health Ministry says it will use the survey findings to develop relevant policies on senior citizens.
“The recent survey has allowed us to identify the change in values in senior citizens and the shift in welfare demanded by them,” said Park Neung-hoo, the Minister of Health and Welfare.
H. S. Seo (firstname.lastname@example.org)