The Seoul Metropolitan Government has unveiled its “2020 Aging Society Master Plan” to strengthen its welfare policies for senior citizens beginning next year as part of an agenda to develop Seoul into a hospitable living environment for the elderly.
The local government projected the population of senior citizens in Seoul will reach 1 million in 2012 and further balloon to 1.4 million by 2020, classifying the nation’s capital as an aged society.
The government noted that it selected ten major tasks to help boost the effectiveness of the master plan, while it announced plans to execute as many as a hundred different businesses across six major areas by 2020. These include healthy aging, active living, productive senior citizens, an integrated society, convenient surroundings and a redesigning infrastructure.
The master plan is expected to foster a “friendly society for the aging” by promoting a flexible lifestyle for the aging and incorporating a cooperative environment among all the citizens, such as between adolescents and to-be senior citizens.
Policies Tailored to the Low-Income Class, Single Seniors and Aged Dementia Patients
The master plan also aims to strengthen welfare policies for the low-income class, senior citizens living alone and those with dementia. The agenda features providing single senior citizens with an accessible U-health system, a day-to-day support program, and a home service, as well as reinforcing the stay-home service for seniors with dementia.
More treatment and care facilities, or “Day Care Centers,” accessible within a 10-minute distance for dementia patients will be made available, while a total of four geriatric hospitals will be established for each major local area around the city. An improved welfare infrastructure for the aged by 2014 will introduce 70 small-scale welfare centers, medical treatment centers in 600 spots around the nation’s capital, and five “Happy Towns” for the country’s silver population.
To help the aged travel more safely, the Seoul government plans to expand the number of “silver zones” to 500 by 2020 near nursing homes and silver welfare centers. The silver zones will be free of obstructive features and have safety guard rails for inclined passage ways and safety bumps to prevent speeding accidents.
About 100,000 jobs will also be created to help contribute to senior citizens’ income. The government then added that it plans to set up a “Silver Hope Fund” designed to provide support to seniors who save a portion of their income.
In order to expand the supply of safe and comfortable homes to the aged, the government said it will adopt a universal design by 2011. At the same time, 800 rental homes for seniors will be supplied each year, while 450 small convenient homes for the aged will be supplied each year.
Preparation programs for prospective seniors will also be made available, while opportunities for learning, enjoying the arts and other leisure activities will be expanded.