Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ministry targets aging demographic

ACTIVE CONCERN:The measures are targeted at involving the elderly more in the nation’s economic life and the promotion of industries serving the growing sector

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) yesterday said that the government has drawn up plans and formulated policy proposals in response to the challenge of a rapidly aging population.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare delivered its white paper on population aging in the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, with the premier saying the government’s main goals are to reduce the number of disabled elderly by prolonging their healthy years, to encourage the employment of older people and to promote an environment that encourages the growth of industries that could involve the elderly.

According to the latest demographic estimates, the nation’s senior population is set to grow from 14 percent of the population to 20 percent from 2018 to 2025, Mao said, adding that the issue would have serious impacts on economic development.

While the elderly have always been considered a group in need of care, what has been overlooked is the fact that they can also provide services, the premier said.

“It is crucial that the ministry formulates and implements policies that can help older people value their existences and bring out their potential,” Mao said.

The ministry’s white paper included measures aimed at encouraging the elderly to be active, improving the capacity of long-term care services, strengthening links to communities, providing institutional and in-home care services, and encouraging industries and products targeting an aging population.

“We want to have more investment from the private sector in industries related to the elderly, which could also help create job opportunities for young people,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang (蔣丙煌) said.

In the white paper, Mao advised the ministry to consider moving the retirement age back.

Chiang said that the participation rate for people aged 65 or older is about 8 percent, “which is quite low,” but resetting the retirement age would require a comprehensive and in-depth evaluation.

Another option for Taiwan is to implement what is known as progressive retirement, which allows workers approaching retirement age to work part-time while teaching younger people the fundamentals of their jobs, Chiang said.

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