Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Charity highlights plight of elderly people living alone

By Su Chin-feng and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

A charity organization based in Greater Taichung is seeking donations for its Lunar New Year’s Eve banquet for the region’s senior citizens who live alone.

Getting together with family for a dinner on Lunar New Year’s Eve is a cherished tradition for many Taiwanese.

The Old Five Old Foundation said that this year, in line with previous years, it will deliver a traditional six-course year-end dinner to 1,500 elderly residents of Greater Taichung.

The foundation is seeking NT$1.5 million (US$51,500) in donations toward the costs of the 1,500 dinner sets, which cost NT$999 each, the foundation said.

According to information from the Greater Taichung City Government’s Social Affairs Bureau, there are about 240,000 senior citizens in Greater Taichung and more than 2,000 of them live alone.

Officials from the foundation said that about half of the elderly people placed under the foundation’s care do not live with their children, while the other half are alone because they do not have children of their own.

Some live alone because their children live abroad, while others live alone because of strained relationships with their children.

“Taiwan has a rapidly aging society. Senior citizens will compose about 20 percent of the total population in 15 years,” foundation chairman Lin Cheng-chieh (林正介) said.

“Our government must find ways to deal with the problems of an aging society,” he said.

Lin highlighted a case where an elderly woman who was living by herself because her daughter was abroad for business had a bad fall.

Her neighbor provided emergency aid to save her life.

“That case made her daughter regret leaving her mother alone for that period of time,” Lin said.

Lin added: “In many other cases of elderly people living alone, we have seen that their sons or daughters would not care for their parents at all. These cases require public attention on how to better take care of these elderly people.”

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