Nearly 40 percent of senior citizens working: survey

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 - Page 3

A survey released yesterday suggested that nearly 40 percent of the nation’s citizens aged 65 and above are still working, mainly to support their family’s economic needs.

The retirement age for men and women is 65.

According to the Taiwan Grassroots Foundation, which commissioned a polling center at Hsing Wu University of Science to carry out the survey, the nation’s elderly population reached more than 2.55 million this May, accounting for 10.9 percent of the total population.

There is set be about 2.94 million senior citizens by 2015 and 3.81 million by 2020, the foundation said, citing estimates from the Council for Economic Planning and Development in 2010.

The survey showed 37.5 percent of those aged 65 and above are still working and up to 68.4 percent of them work in order to earn a living, with only 12.7 percent working because of interest or social service.

The survey also found that 41 percent of senior citizens were unable to sustain themselves financially and needed support from their children. About 51.2 percent of such citizens receive less than NT$10,000 from their children each month.

Nearly 70 percent of senior citizens lived with their children, the survey showed.

Foundation chairperson Lo Yu-san (羅友三) said that while sending elderly parents to a nursing home was traditionally considered unfilial in Taiwanese society, the survey found that attitudes are changing in most of the children, with 67.8 percent agreeing that it was not an unfilial act.

However, while many children have expressed more open attitudes toward nursing homes, only about 20 percent of the families polled said they would actually do so, the foundation said, showing that most families still hope to keep family members together under one roof.

The foundation suggested that the government promote affordable, elderly-friendly housing, establish better pension programs to allow the elderly to be more financially self-sufficient and emphasize childrens’ obligations to take care of their elderly parents through regulations.

The survey, collected from a total of 1,071 valid responses between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10 from families that included a senior citizen, had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.