TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Taiwan is witnessing a gradual shift towards a super-aged society, necessitating careful preparations in various aspects such as financial planning and healthcare management to avoid the pitfalls of what Japan terms as "karyū rōjin," or "low-class elderly people."
The term "karyū rōjin" was coined by Japanese social worker Takanori Fujita in his book "Down and Out Elderly: The Impact of the Coming Collapse Brought on by 100 Million Elderly People."
To be classified as "low-class elderly people" entails three main indicators: extremely low income, minimal savings, and a lack of social support.
In New Taipei City's rural Pingxi District, where one-third of the population comprises older individuals, many experience loneliness, particularly evident in the days leading up to the Lunar New Year Holidays.
In a proactive initiative, a senior welfare association collaborated with a pharmaceutical company to organize a series of festive-themed events aimed at providing companionship and support to the older residents.
Notably, some of the volunteers at these events are senior citizens themselves, like Cheng Tsung-jung and Lin Li-yueh, who shared their experiences with TVBS News, which includes measuring blood pressure, distributing supplies, and engaging in various activities such as reading and writing exercises and shared meals.
According to Lee Juo-chi, executive director of the Hondao Senior Citizens Welfare Foundation, the primary objective of these activities is to facilitate dialogue and communication among the older adults, emphasizing the importance of social interaction in aging communities.
Highlighting the significance of retirement planning, health management, and medical preparations, the New Taipei branch director of the Hondao Senior Citizens Welfare Foundation underscores the importance of proactive measures to prevent individuals from falling into the category of low-class elderly.
As Taiwan grapples with the emerging phenomenon of the "low-class elderly," addressing the comprehensive needs of its aging population has become an increasingly pressing issue.