September 28 (IPS) – Have you seen Parasite? In 2021, everyone seems to be watching it. But I wonder how many of them noticed the old man, who found a small refuge in a hidden basement behind the kitchen of a mansion. However hidden there, it was a place where he could meet his basic needs. It was his little slum.
It might be a bit wordy, but I found that the movie Parasite exposed the core of Korea’s unique slum culture. It hides in the shadow of large skyscrapers and more importantly includes seniors like the old man in the movie.
The slums in Korea are full of seniors. In In 2020 alone, 388 elderly people died at home alone. Only one This number of deaths will increase by 29% in 2021. Why? That is what we will talk about in this article.
First, Korea is now an aging society. By 2025, more than 20% of the Korean population will be elderly. Therefore, with the increase in the elderly population, the poverty rate among the elderly also increases.
Although South Korea has a reputation as a rapidly developing country after the Korean War in 1953, it has been plagued by numerous financial crises continuously. Many industries prioritize the younger generation to maximize the nation’s output, resulting in More than 2 million elderly workers have been unemployed and forced into early retirement since the 1970s. With this trend, the welfare of the elderly is reduced and many people experience financial devastation – sending them out into the streets and forcing them to seek shelter. This explains the emergence of Korean slums of seniors.
There is another important reason why older people fill the slums in Korea. Seniors in South Korea are a unique generation, sandwiched between their past Korean War and YOLO (You Only Live Once) culture. They must support their immediate and extended family (their elderly parents, siblings, etc.). Above all, as they become seniors, their children, who live in the YOLO culture (defined as the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future, do not worry about the future). future), do not depend on your parents. As a result, Korean families face a new crisis: abandoned seniors. Recently, more and more news about The elderly are abandoned by their children. Many of them die alone at home without any family members. As of 2020, out of 1.8 million seniors living on their own,953 of them died at home alone. Because of this social phenomenon, Many owners refuse to rent to people over 65 years old.
To find a place to live, they go to the slums, which explains why the slums in Korea are filled with elderly people. Interestingly, these seniors have turned their slums into a billion dollar town where they receive social welfare services and emotional support. Because they live together, charities and social welfare services can easily locate and take care of them. Through the Support system acquired by living in the slums, seniors can feel feeling of belonging – they no longer feel alone.
Concern around the world CEO Junmo Lee told IPS they must approach the issue with the importance of community. Creating a community where these seniors are reconnected to society is key because the disconnect will isolate them. Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organization working for a world free of poverty.
But how to deal with this disconnect with their family and productive work? We know that a private organization cannot solve it. Then what is the solution?
Seong Hoon Kim, Senior Director of Platform Division at Korea Social Security Information Service Team was able to take a legislative position on this issue.
To create a community where seniors are reconnected with society, we need community contributions, where all government, private humanitarian organizations and members of the community, Kim said. families work together as a team.
There is a saying that raising a child takes an entire village.
Now, we mean that it takes a whole village to take care of the elderly, especially those who live in the slums. We must come as a family to support them.
However, our government needs to step up to bring the entire country together to form a community where these seniors are reconnected with their own families and society.
We are teenagers now. But we will also age. We don’t want to live in the slums because that’s the only option we have. We hope to continue to stay connected with our families and productive until we pass away. To make this hope a reality, we must start doing it now.
Living in the slums after age 65? It’s not just their story. It could be our story, and yours, if we don’t act now. We hope the Korean government will hear our voices and take action so that we can live as happily as possible into our old age. Don’t we have the right to pursue happiness even though we are 65 years old?
Note: Minseung Kim is the team leader of this project.Edited by Dr. Hanna Yoon
Report of the United Nations Office IPS
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service