Kin’s abuse of elderly is on the rise

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Kin’s abuse of elderly is on the rise

Abuse against Korea’s elderly is rising, a worry in a rapidly aging society.

And much of the abuse is by people over 60, either the spouses or children of the elderly.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday, the number of cases of elderly people abused by people themselves over the age of 60 rose to 1,314 last year from 944 in 2010 - a 39.2 percent increase.

“With an increasing number of children and spouses joining the silver generation, abuse cases in which the perpetrator and victim are both gray-haired have increased every year,” the ministry said in a statement.

Total abuse cases against the elderly numbered 3,424 last year, a 0.5 percent decrease from a year earlier.

According to the Welfare Ministry, family members accounted for 86.9 percent of the abuse cases.

Among those, 41.2 percent of the perpetrators were sons, 12.8 percent were spouses and 12 percent were daughters.

The abuse breaks down into three categories with the largest being verbal abuse, which accounted for 38.3 percent of the cases, followed by physical abuse (23.8 percent) and neglect (18.7 percent).

The ministry also said that with an increasing number of elderly living alone, the number of self-neglect cases has more than doubled, reaching 394 cases last year from 196 in 2010.

The number of abuse complaints last year was 9,340, an 8.6 percent increase from 2011. But only 3,424 of those were ultimately confirmed.

Among the total number of elderly abuse victims last year, 79 percent were discovered to have below middle school education levels.

The study also showed women are more prone to be abused as 69.1 percent of the total number of victims were females last year.

The ministry vowed to expand the number of elderly care centers.

By KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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