Authorities should make use of technological advances in searching for missing elderly people, Vice President William Lai (賴清德) said in a video posted online on Saturday.
Lai’s video is to serve as the opening remarks for the 20th anniversary of the League of Welfare Improvement for Older People.
“I’d like to thank the league for the love it has shown in helping so many elderly people become reunited with their families,” he said.
Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office
Using technology to assist in searching for elderly people who get lost due to dementia or other health conditions is a pressing task, given that Taiwan is to become a super-aged society by 2025, he said.
In the past, families had to rely on filing missing person reports with the police, and posting ads in newspapers and on television to locate missing relatives, Lai said.
“Today, we have smart technology and other online tools at our disposal,” he said. “We need to adapt this technology now, because by 2025 one in five people in Taiwan will be over the age of 65.”
The aging of Taiwanese society combined with an increase in the number of people with dementia means that the number of missing person reports is also rising, he said.
Last year, 2,149 elderly people with dementia went missing, up by 608 reports in 2016, he said.
“What will be most important is not what the government tries on its own, but what the government does in cooperation with social welfare groups,” he said. “As an example, the league has provided families with solid support for 20 years.”
The government should invest in such organizations to improve the efficiency of its efforts, he said.
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