SEOUL, April 27 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite growing social interest in “well-dying,” the concept that goes beyond “well-being,” some seniors living in Seoul are not preparing adequately for their death.
In a survey of 526 men and women aged between 20 to 79 conducted by the city in September of last year, 44.4 percent of citizens aged 65 or older said they were not preparing for their death.
Analyzing the responses by age group, 53.7 percent of those in their 60s and 37.9 percent of those in their 70s were not prepared for death.
In addition, while 25.3 percent were in favor of life-prolonging treatment or care, 74.7 percent opposed this form of intervention.
A considerable number of respondents had negative views of medical treatment and care that merely prolongs the life of patients.
The older the age, the more opinions were against life-prolonging treatment. In particular, 81 percent of those in their 60s opposed the idea.
A 2017 survey of senior citizens by the Ministry of Health and Welfare also showed that 91.8 percent of senior citizens objected meaningless life-prolonging treatment.
The results can be interpreted as an indication that the majority of the elderly want to end their lives comfortably and with dignity without relying on mechanical and artificial devices.
Accordingly, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is launching a ‘well-dying’ initiative.
First of all, the city will invest 220 million won (US$178,300) for eight months from May to December to select seven or eight autonomous districts to carry out well-dying cultural creation projects.
The selected autonomous districts will open classes such as well-dying leaders’ certification classes to train individuals as assistant instructors or provide classes to improve well-dying awareness and overall education for citizens.
In addition, the city plans to form a task force with seven experts with abundant knowledge and work experience, hospice and palliative care-related medical personnel, and well-dying-related institutions to establish a comprehensive plan for the well-dying project.
“We will create a social culture that can establish a sound view of life and bioethics through the creation of a well-dying culture, to improve awareness of the recognition of dignity in death as a natural process of life,” a city official explained.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)