Following the case in which the 84-year-old Wang Ching-hsi (王敬熙) murdered his long ill and disabled wife, several civic groups — along with lawmakers — urged the government to come up with more support measures for caregivers to prevent similar tragedies.
Last Sunday, Wang killed his wife, Wang Sun-yuan (王孫元), who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for decades and had recently been disabled after accidentally falling at home earlier this week, by hammering a screwdriver in to his wife’s forehead.
Turning himself into the police immediately after committing the murder, Wang told the police that he did so because he wanted to put an end to his wife’s suffering.
“The case shows very well the problems of our long-term care system,” said Frank Wang (王增勇), an associate professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Social Work, who is active in pushing for legislation for more government assistance in taking care of the nation’s seniors, at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan.
Wang said that family members of disabled seniors could not be automatically considered caregivers: “They also need a break, because taking care of seniors can be a very tiring a frustrating task.”
He said that at the moment, the government is only willing to provide minimal services to seniors living alone, and excludes those with families or with foreign caregivers from care programs.
According to government statistics, over 170,000 families hire caregivers from Southeast Asian countries to take care of their elderly relatives.
According to figures released by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), as many as 30 percent of the seniors in this country are taken care of by other seniors, such as spouses.
“In a sense, the government is forcing family members of disabled seniors to exploit foreign caregivers, because it’s either them or the foreign caregivers who have to work non-stop,” Wang said. “Either it’s the family member or the foreign caregiver, one of them will have enough one day and tragedies like what happened to Mr and Mrs Wang will happen.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) agreed.
“The government has to recognize how serious the problem is, because Taiwan has an aging population and a decreasing birthrate,” Cheng said. “The government has to adjust its way of thinking to recognize who is really in need.”
Taking Wang as an example, Cheng said that, under the government definition, the family would not be considered “disadvantaged” or a “family in need” because both of them were retired professors and their children are all working in the US.
“But obviously, well-off families like the Wangs still need help from the government,” Cheng said.
From a gender point of view, the Awakening Foundation -secretary-general Tseng Chao-yuan (曾昭媛) said the government’s honoring of “model mothers” or “mother wives” may be one of the reasons why many seniors taking care of their disabled spouses or children are reluctant to seek government help.
“The idea behind honoring ‘model mothers’ and ‘mother wives’ is basically telling women in the family to endure whatever comes to them to become ‘models’ for society,” Tseng said. “I think this is an outdated way of thinking.”
Tseng said that, in the past, women in the family may have been able to take on the task because families were bigger and “in-laws could help each other in taking care of household chores and seniors while the men worked in the fields.”
“But the times have changed, and so should the government’s mentality,” Tseng said.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A legislator yesterday called for authorities to investigate the sale of Chinese-made, Internet-connected karaoke machines containing “propaganda songs.” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was approached by a person who had discovered Chinese patriotic songs such as My Motherland (我的祖國) — which is commonly referred to as China’s “second national anthem” — in Chinese-made karaoke devices sold in Taiwan. The machines are popular, as they can connect to the Internet, providing access to thousands of songs, she said. One retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the machines first entered the local market about three years ago, starting with