The nation will likely become an “aged” society by 2017, when senior citizens are expected to constitute 14 percent of the country’s population, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday.
The UN defines societies with 14 percent of their populations 65 years or older as “aged.”
At present, 2.52 million of Taiwan’s 23.18 million people, or 10.87 percent, are senior citizens, Jiang said, and he predicted that senior citizens would account for half the population by 2051, with serious consequences.
“The trend of aging accompanied by a low birthrate will have a serious impact on society and the country’s economy,” Jiang said.
Recognizing the trend, the government has focused some of its social welfare programs on helping the elderly, including measures to encourage senior citizens to take part in community activities, Jiang said.
Deputy Minister of the Department of Health Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) said that as Taiwan’s population ages, efforts would be made to promote long-term healthcare services and integrated care to help senior citizens suffering from chronic diseases.
Lin said that 90 percent of elderly patients are diagnosed with one or more chronic diseases.
The government is also encouraging domestic medical and healthcare institutions to provide services catering to the needs of senior citizens, Lin said.