Sat, Jul 15, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Groups call for care for elderly

DISADVANTAGED A social welfare alliance urged the government to make changes to regulations to provide better community and home health care for the disabled

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several social welfare groups yesterday called on the government to amend regulations to better care for the country's physically or mentally challenged senior citizens.

Enable, an alliance of several civic groups which promote the welfare of the disabled, said at a press conference yesterday that Taiwan had about 937,000 people with physical or mental disabilities last year, accounting for 4.12 percent of the total population.

According to the alliance, the disadvantaged population is aging, with the percentage of people aged over 65 growing rapidly.

The alliance's secretary-general, Hsieh Tung-ju (謝東儒), said that the elderly need a sound community and home health care service, but this type of service network has not yet been well established across the country.

Some areas such as Yunlin, Hsinchu and Taichung counties do not even have the budget for such a service, the alliance said.

The chairwoman of the Parents' Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如), said that the disabled had not been included in the government's long-term care project for the next 10 years.

Moreover, parents with disadvantaged children in need of home or community health care have to pay NT$180 (US$5.5) per hour for their children to receive extra care, Chen said, adding that most of these families cannot afford it.

Huang Cho-sung (黃琢嵩), the vice chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said that although the disadvantaged population is going to exceed 1 million in the coming year, "they are still not taken seriously enough."

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Jung-chang (王榮璋) said as the composition of the disadvantaged population is changing, laws and policies should be adjusted to attend to their different needs.

Wang said that the current and future goal of the service should be to promote and maintain the health of the elderly.

According to Wang, the Welfare Regulations for the Mentally and Physically Disadvantaged (身心障礙福利法) have not been amended since 1997 and may not be applicable to the present situation.

However, proposed amendments to the regulations have been discussed in the Executive Yuan and a final package will be sent to the Legislative Yuan for review in the coming session.

Methods for evaluating the needs of the people suffering from different disabilities to receive different services will be added to the laws, he said.

An amendment to the Senior Citizens' Welfare Law (老人福利法) has been forwarded to the legislature and should work in tandem with the proposed revisions to regulations governing the disadvantaged in the future, he added.

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