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Over 50% of seniors in Taiwan feel lonely

More than 30 percent say they spend birthdays on their own

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — More than 50 percent of the elderly in Taiwan feel forlorn, with those living in Yunlin County expressing the highest degree of loneliness, according to the latest survey.

Over 30 percent of seniors spend their birthdays alone, 14.5 percent have dinner by themselves, and 9.4 percent have to undergo surgery without the company of their family and friends, the study suggests. Around 80 percent of the respondents crave for companions, said 56789 Age Lab and the Taiwan Active Aging Association (AAA) at a joint news conference on Friday (July 17).

The research, which gauges senior loneliness with six behavioral indicators in the country's 22 cities and counties, finds that seniors in Yunlin are the most depressed over loneliness, followed by Taitung County and outlying Penghu County. Hualien, Changhua, and Keelung are the top municipalities where elders feel the least lonely, wrote CNA.

An analysis of the lonesome senior community points to some of the following traits: aged 65 to 74, with a less than junior high school diploma, earning no more than NT$60,000 (US$2,034) a month, without a spouse or partner, and male.

The results paint a grim picture of the elderly’s mental health, which needs to be addressed as Taiwan is poised to become a super-aged society by 2026, according to a forecast by the National Development Council.

The survey received 1,256 valid samples from a pool of residents aged 50 or higher. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a plus or minus 2.77 percentage margin of error.