Sat, Nov 10, 2012 - Page 5 News List

INTERVIEW: Aging nation needs respect: campaigner

OLD, BUT NOT PAST IT:Doris Lin, who fronts the Hondao Foundation, says that older people who once held down important jobs are increasingly being sidelined by society

By Wen Chun-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The event’s success led to the organization of other events, such as the formation of an elderly baseball team, a Broadway-style play at the Taipei Arena, as well as other schemes designed to help older people regain confidence while living their lives to the fullest.

“A lot of the people that Hondao serves have been generals, deans of schools and universities or owners of companies. People who — in their day — were figures of some importance. It is saddening to see that in the latter days of their lives the only people they end up seeing are the overseas workers hired to take care of them,” Lin said.

In another effort to revitalize the country’s elderly population, Lin started another activity in which elderly people were invited to form groups and participate in singing and dance competitions, which have helped bring about an unprecedented wave of older people leaving their semi-reclusive lifestyles and rejoining society.

The Department of Health has not only listed the event as part of its policymaking process, but says the event has seen as many as 50,000 older people participating.

Lin said that she was over joyed and surprised to see the recent Double Ninth Day (重陽節) — a traditional holiday observed by Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, and declared senior citizens day by the government in 1966 — prompted local governments nationwide to not only host dinners for the elderly, but also to form groups and tours in which older people were taken on national and global trips. Lin added that she was very glad to see society changing its attitude toward the elderly.

Discussing her next moves, Lin’s eyes lit up when she outlined plans for a new door-to-door volunteer service.

“In preparation for the advent of a rapidly aging society, the prevention of disease, as well as long-term healthcare need to have equal weight and I plan to integrate both foreign and domestic labor forces to establish a method of long-term care —a method that will promote a mobile door-to-door service in synch with the Taiwanese family system,” Lin said.

“I don’t feel that I will ever grow tired of my job,” she added.

Saying that she wished all older people could have “positive and outgoing lives” in their latter days, Lin added: “It’s not just care we need to give our elders, but rather to let them participate more in our lives. It is my wish that all elderly people could be active in their lives up until their last breath.”

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