The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday called for attention to elderly people’s health and safety on Double Ninth Festival, also known as Senior Citizens Day, which is celebrated today.
As of February, the population aged 65 and above accounted for 11.3 percent (2.64 million) of the total population. It is expected to reach 14 percent by 2018, with an aging rate that is the highest among developed countries, the ministry said.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that the elderly are at high risk of developing flu-related complications and have the highest flu-associated death rate among all age groups, they are advised to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
The vaccine recommended by the CDC is the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV-23) for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal diseases.
The Health Promotion Administration called for more social participation by senior citizens, citing a national survey that showed only about 40 percent of respondents participated in social activities, including volunteer work, religious activities and community services. Elderly women were found to be more active in social participation at 43.9 percent than men at 38.1 percent.
Outdoor and social activities can help maintain good physical and mental health, said the administration, while the Department of Mental Health and Oral Health added that the ministry has been raising awareness of the elderly’s mental health and providing depression screening in communities through local health authorities.
The Department of Protective Services also brought the safety of senior citizens to public attention as the number of cases involving abuse against them has increased by 59.62 percent in four years from 2,271 in 2008 to 3,625 last year.
Psychological abuse accounted for 42.46 percent of the abuse, with abandonment, negligence and financial misappropriation being other forms of abuse against older generations.