[Letters] Treating the elderly rightRegarding “Wrinkled face of crime”, [Viewpoint, April 13] I think our society carries more responsible for crimes committed by the elderly. The government should act right now.
Our society should try to remedy their economic insecurity. In Korea, the baby-boom generation has sacrificed their lives for younger generations. They lived through times of extreme poverty, their only aim to raise and educate their children for better lives. They couldn’t enjoy their lives or prepare for their own future. Thanks to them we can live in prosperity, so we have to consider their proper treatment when making policy decisions. Unless we do so, they will be compelled to commit crimes to survive.
As a society we should try to understand their way of thinking. The elderly had lived in a patriarchal culture, so in a family the father was like an emperor. He usually directed verbal or physical abuse to other family members, especially to his wife. He didn’t have a chance to learn how to compromise with other family members. But society has changed into a more equal one and so have women’s rights, though the mindset of elderly men may not have changed. Consequently, if the elderly are ignored by others, they might commit crimes though unintended. Therefore, we should understand them with love and help them learn how to compromise.
Our society should try to relieve their social isolation. Just like us they are human. They can still dream and desire. They are not walking dead. They want to share their lives with others including the younger generations. Therefore, our government’s concept of social welfare should be changed from giving them small subsidies just for survival. The government should provide more enjoyable things for them in the community. Ignoring people’s needs and aspirations can lead to crimes.
When I traveled in Japan, I was impressed to see lots of working elderly men and women in almost all tourist attractions. They seem to enjoy doing work, just like us. Our society should do the same for our elderly. They deserve it.
Cathy, Seoul, email@example.com
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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