Both Catholic papers and the Kyeonyang magazine remembering Oct. 1st, the International Day of the Elderly, had front page space on the issue and the magazine had a series of articles on the situation in Korea. The aging of Korea is one of the fastest in the world and consequently little time for preparation. Spirituality for the elderly needs to be emphasized. In Korea we have help with the phrases used often in society: 'well living' and 'well dying'.
recent seminar on the situation of aging, faith and spirituality a
bishop mentioned the need to prepare the elderly to live fulfilled lives and know how to prepare for death. In Society and within the Church there has been a
movement for 'Group Homes' for the Elderly.
By 2017 the
number of elderly will be over seven million which will be 14% of the
population. In 2025 it is estimated we will have over 10 million. In
2000 those living alone were about 540 thousand which was 3.7 % of the
total families. In 2010 this reached one million. In 2013 this rose
again to 1 million 250 thousand which is 7% of the total number
of families. 20% of the total number of the elderly
are estimated to be living alone.
There are no systematic programs in
place to take care of the problems of the sick, and those dying alone. We have
few statistics on what is happening. According to a report in 2014 we
have 55. 5 suicides for every 100,000 of the population, the highest in the world. As the aging population increases, problems increase,
one of the articles mentioned the need for Group Homes. These homes
provide the elderly with the care they need and living in an environment
that is comfortable and personal similar to their own
The first Group Home was introduced into
Korea in 1995, called a home for the aged. According to the Department of Welfare, places that can be called Group Homes in 2015
numbered 131, a decrease from the 142 from the previous year, a sadness which the writer laments. They take care of about 1000 seniors.
One of the articles
by a scholar on problems of the aged laments that many of the elders
have worked for the nation, society and the family and now they are
neglected. The families of many have turned their back on them. Many
have broken hearts hurting economically, mentally, emotionally and we
shouldn't overlook this reality. This will be the self-portrait of our young people.
all have a desire to live long
lives. In the Old Testament this was considered a blessing. In the
ancient Roman world the average age of the citizens was about 22 years.
Koreans average age from 1926-30 was 33.8 years. In 2013 for men it
78.5 and women was 85.1. If we live to be over a hundred half of our
life will be living as an elder.
not abandon yourself to sorrow, do not torment yourself with brooding.
Gladness of heart is life to a man, joy is what gives him length of