Groups Call for a Dedicated Agency in Taiwan for Older Persons

Asia-Pacific, News, October 1 2020

TAIWAN: The government should establish a dedicated agency that promotes and oversees senior care services, the Federation for the Welfare of the Elderly said on Tuesday, ahead of yesterday’s International Day of Older Persons.

Discussions about senior care in Taiwan normally do not go beyond the government’s long-term care policy and stipends provided to mark the Double Ninth Festival — the traditional senior citizens’ day that falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, said the federation, which represents more than 100 elderly care groups nationwide.

However, the room for development among the elderly in the second half of their lives is so much greater, it said.

As of August last year, 15.79 percent of the population were people aged 65 or above, with 65-to-74-year-olds accounting for 61.42 percent, the 75-to-84 age group accounting for 27.89 percent and those 85 and over making up 10.68 percent, it said.

There were 4,034 centenarians at that time, it added.

Many countries, including the US and Japan, have governmental units responsible for senior affairs in the areas of education, labor, safety, economy, social welfare and healthcare, it said.

Taiwan should learn from them to meet the needs of a super-aged society, it said.

Technology should be utilized to develop a life-long learning system as a way of ending the stereotype that old people cannot make contributions to society, it said.

Raising people’s awareness on retirement preparations is also important, including health management, property trust, voluntary guardianship and care services, while pneumonia vaccinations should be free for the elderly, the federation said.

Long-term policies should be aimed at relieving families of the burden of caring for their elderly relatives, as well as addressing elder abuse, and reducing the barriers that limit the elderly from participating in social activities, it said.

In addition, to help retain trained staff at senior care facilities in eastern Taiwan, employees of those facilities should receive bonuses, it added.

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