The Ministry of the Interior has conducted checks on the nation's more-than 1,000 institutions for senior citizens and has found that more than 700 fail to meet government standards set forth in the Establishment Standards of Senior Citizens' Welfare Institutions Act.
The age of the greying society has dawned on Taiwan, but society is unprepared. If so many of the institutions supposedly providing care are dirty, cramped and gloomy, the quality of life for the country's senior citizens could be even worse than for abused pets.
According to the law, beds in such institutions should be at least 80 cm apart, the windows should filter sunlight, and there should be shower facilities.
The law also stipulates that such institutions that have not achieved these standards as of the end of this month can be fined between NT$50,000 (US$1,675) and NT$250,000.
The institutions, of course, are complaining. They say that each institution accommodates between 30 and 40 senior citizens and that if they have to renovate , they will be forced to close, which will create a burden on families and society.
They also say that because they are located in apartments or managed buildings, any renovations require the consent of management committees. Even if they get the green light, there is still the problem of accommodating their clients during the renovation period.
The era of the gray society has come too soon, and local life expectancy has extended significantly, while the number of people who cannot manage by themselves has also increased rapidly.
We support the government's demand that these care institutions improve their facilities and upgrade their quality of long-term care.
We also hope that the government will construct long-term care facilities and encourage the private sector to invest in such institutions so that the elderly can live out their golden years in dignity, or at least in a clean environment. (Editorial abstract July 2, 2012)
(By Lilian Wu)