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By Kay Aviles | September 27, 2011 6:31 PM EST
As South Korea gears up for economic advancement, the South Korean
government seems to be overlooking a domestic issue-the protection and
welfare of the elderly.
While South Korea advances in armory, it falls short of protecting its
dear senior citizens who suffer different forms of abuses, poverty,
loneliness and commit suicide as they reach more than age 65.
According to Ministry of Health and Welfare, South Korea has 5.54
million senior citizens aged 65 and up. The figure is more than 11
percent of the total world population. Of the figure, the Ministry
told media there is one in three senior citizens suffering from abuse
such as verbal, emotional and physical. Abuses at home accounted for
86 percent, while abuses by children and in-laws accounting for 73
percent. In 2005, there were 2,038 reported cases of abuse. The figure
soared to 3,068 cases in 2010. Cases of counseling and therapy rose to
47,988 in 2010 from 13,836 in 2005, an increase by 3.5 times.
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Lawmaker Kwon Sun-Tak, head of Liberty Forward Party told Chosunilbo
senior citizens account for 34.6 percent of every 100,000 killed in
traffic accidents. Data collated from National Police Agency revealed
2,100 to 2,300 cases of senior citizens getting killed while driving
or crossing the streets.
Statisticians also told the media poverty is what awaits senior
citizens if they fail to prepare for their future while they are still
able. Jeon Hyun-heui, Democratic Party lawmaker showed the data
suggesting poverty rate of 45 percent among senior citizens.
With such disheartening scenario for senior citizens, many of them
consider suicide as the sole hope to escape. The Ministry of Health
and Welfare stated that for every 100,000 elderly, there are 160.4
senior citizens aged 75 and up that committed suicide. Experts believe
the rate is eight times higher than OECD average. For senior citizens
aged 65 to 74, the suicide rate is 81.8 per 100,000.
Unless lawmakers address the concern seriously, the data collected
from South Korea reflects a gloomy future in a country that has an
increasing number of senior citizens as against the younger
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