For the first time in Korea, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is offering the “Home Education Service for Seniors at Pre-Dementia Stage” to prevent or delay the progress of their disease.
At present, more than one in four (27.8%) of the senior population of Seoul or around 300,000 out of 1.1 million seniors in the city is known to have symptoms of mild cognitive decline, a stage right before dementia. The number is rapidly increasing.
* As a stage between regular aging and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive decline involves clear signs of decline in the cognitive ability of seniors but does not necessarily hamper their social, vocational, or personal functions.
The “Home Education Service for Seniors at Pre-Dementia Stage Project” is designed to enable caregivers to offer seniors suffering from mild cognitive decline and with high risk of advancing to severe dementia stages at-home education service with specially developed home-study materials and learning tools. The purpose is to help them manage their daily lives on their own as long as possible.
The service helps slow down the deterioration of cognitive ability of seniors, delay their advance into dementia stages, and boost their mental health through emotional empathy with caregivers. Ultimately, the Seoul Metropolitan Government expects to reduce social costs due to seniors’ dementia and cognitive decline.
Most notably, the caregivers who provide at-home education to seniors suffering from cognitive decline are retired personnel. Therefore, the service also contributes to job creation among seniors in the city.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to carry out the pilot project for the service in Central Seoul (Jung-gu) for 600 seniors until March 2015. Following reviews and adjustments, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will expand it to the rest of the metropolis and possibly to the entire nation by the central government.
During the pilot project, the at-home education service is offered free of charge. From the long-term perspective, however, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to promote the coverage of the education service by the national health insurance scheme.
Moreover, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is considering encouraging retired professionals to establish social enterprises to provide the service from the long-term perspective.
For the pilot project, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is working on educational materials, with the Seoul Support Center for Double-cropping in Life recruiting at-home education instructors. Those aged 50 or older are eligible for the position provided they have experiences in the area or strong commitment to social services.
For inquiries, contact the Job Bank Team, Seoul Support Center for Double-cropping in Life at +82-2-389-889 (http:// www.seoulsenior.or.kr).
The pilot project is fully supported financially by the Cigna Foundation of Lina Life Insurance Company of Korea.
Mayor Park Won Soon and Hong Benjamin, chairman of Cigna Foundation, signed a memorandum of understanding on the commitment at the mayor’s office on October 17, 2013.