SEOUL / The ChosunIbo / National / September 27, 2011
Living Conditions Get Worse for Older People
The quality of life among senior citizens is deteriorating as they are increasingly exposed to loneliness, abuse and traffic accidents.
Among the reported cases of abuse, 86 percent occurred at home and 73 percent were committed by family members, such as children or sons- or daughter-in-laws.
Physical abuse was also on the rise. In 2005, there were 665 reported cases, including murder, assault and battery, but in 2010 there were 1,300, an almost two-fold increase.
The streets are getting increasingly dangerous for them as well. According to data obtained from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs by Liberty Forward Party lawmaker Kwon Sun-taik, 34.6 out of every 100,000 people over 65 are killed in traffic accidents, four times more than the OECD average. According to data from the National Police Agency, 2,100 to 2,300 senior citizens are killed each year while crossing streets or driving.
The number of old people either living alone or only with their spouses increased to two out of every three. According to the Health Ministry, 1.02 million senior citizens live alone, accounting for 18 percent of people over 65.
The trend is particularly noticeable in Seoul. According to the latest statistics, the number of older couples living by themselves increased from 113,826 in 2000 to 261,399 last year, while the number of elderly people living alone increased from 65,082 to 138,825.
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