Thursday, October 28, 2010

Talents of Our Senior Citizens Should not be Wasted

According to the recent statistics, 11 percent of Koreans are over 65 years old. A columnist in the Catholic Times is asking what do we make of that. The standards of the  UN tell us that when 20 percent of a society has a population over 65, it is considered a super-aged society, and Korea will become such a society in 2026. We are racing to this figure four times faster than other societies, he says.

This ageing society poses problems for the larger society. The numbers of those working  to support the aged will decrease and the numbers of those that will be in the labor market will lessen, which will have an impact on the economic growth of the country. Presently, the concern is to help those who are sick or incapacitated in some way, which has to continue and increase but without interferring with other concerns.

There are many who  reach retirement age in good health, have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and can be of great use to society. We  should find ways to use this overlooked treasure. It can be a whole new way of looking at the retirement years. Finding ways of having these men and women return to society with their talents can be a positive help to the country. The care of the many who need it should be improved and  monies allotted but also to bring back into society many who have  talents and gifts that can help  society. 
In the  front page of the same issue of the Catholic Times we are told that 44 percent of our Catholics are involved in volunteer service work. This was the highest of all the religious groups. Protestants were second with 37 percent and Buddhists had 23%. 64 pecent  of Catholics do this periodically.

Many of our Catholics have taken the mandate at each Mass to go  and give back in some way what they have received to others. 44 percent is a good number but hopefully many more will take up the invitation.

There is much talent among Catholics who are retired and in good health and involving this group in works that will  benefit society should be encouraged. Government  should fund programs for these senior citizen, and the Church, with its close contact with this group on a frequent basis, should be creative in the way they are utilized in the works of the Church.

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