Eradicate Elevated Suicide Rates Among South Korea’s Elderly Population

Target: Lee Myung-bak, President of South Korea

Goal: Insist that President Myung-bak create a care system for the elderly who are being abandoned by their children

In South Korea, the suicide rate among people who are age 65 and older has increased at a distressing rate in the last decade. Changes in the country’s economic structure have shifted from agriculture to industrialization, requiring the younger generation of adults to move to the city. This causes their parents to be left behind to fend for themselves. Insist that President Lee Myung-bak construct a plan that will employ caregivers or nursing homes to care for the elderly when their children are unable to do so.

Historically, South Korea was built on the foundation of the Confucian belief of caring for family members. The tradition was built on honor, where parents would do anything to care for their children and in return, it was the child’s filial duty to uphold the same belief for their parents. Often, parents would deplete their entire life savings just to pay for their children to receive a good education. When parents reached retirement age, the child would then naturally uphold their responsibility of caring for their aging parents. Therefore, there was no need for Social Security or nursing homes.

Unfortunately, now that is not the case. Elders are being abandoned due to the shift in economic restructuring. In their old age, they are often left to live alone in rural areas where depression and solitude often leads to their untimely demise. Seeing themselves as an additional burden to their children leaves them in despair, causing them to take their own lives. The growing number of suicides among people age 65 and older has nearly quadrupled in recent years from 1,161 in 2000, to 4,378 in 2010.

Addressing the fraying of the socioeconomic dynamic, the government is trying to implement different solutions to help ease this hardship. These include a higher retirement age, enabling people to save more money as well as setting up suicide prevention centers for all ages. Although some have claimed success, a solid solution to end suicide among the elderly has yet to be established. Demand that President Lee Myung-bak construct a system to care for the elderly during this tempestuous transition.


Dear President Lee Myung-bak,

The transition in the socioeconomic structure is posing a threat to the elderly who are often being neglected. The family system is disintegrating too quickly to require children to care for their aging or frail parents. Feeling that they are becoming too much of a burden on their children, the elders often take their own lives out of distress and depression of being left to live on their own in rural areas.

Suicide rates among the elderly have nearly quadrupled within the last decade. Even though your government is proposing solutions to remedy this, such as suicide prevention centers and raising the retirement age, a solid plan to eradicate suicide among the elderly has yet to be established. Therefore, I urge you to implement a plan to care for the elderly who are being abandoned by their children, altering their priorities in an attempt to join the competitive environment of large corporations.


[Your Name Here]

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