Longevity Gives Rise to Fears of Family Discord

      November 18, 2011 07:41

      As the average life expectancy of Koreans increases, seven out of 10 women consider caring for their aging husbands a burden, and more than 60 percent of people fear they will end up getting their inheritance too late as the chances increase that their aging parents live longer.

      According to a joint study of 3,000 adults aged over 20 by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs and the Presidential Committee on Social Cohesion released Wednesday, 69.2 percent of respondents said spousal disputes would arise if women ended up having to care for their aging husbands for extended periods. By gender, 71.8 percent of women feel that way compared to 66.4 percent of men. By age group, the feeling is shared by roughly 70 percent in all age groups.

      Incheon University Professor Song Da-young said, "Retired couples have to spend 30 to 40 years together, and as more women seek egalitarian relationships, we will see more problems arising from the need to care for aging husbands."

      A total of 77 percent of those surveyed said problems would arise over who will care for aging parents. More middle-aged Koreans between 40 and 65 (78.3 percent) and younger respondents in their 20s and 30s (77.5 percent) feel that way than senior citizens over 65 (72 percent). This may be because younger people have relatively fewer siblings. And 63.9 percent of respondents expected problems stemming from delayed inheritances as their parents live longer.

      There were a lot of concerns about jobs as well, with 82.5 percent of respondents expecting conflict between the government and senior citizens as more elderly Koreans look for work. Some 79.5 percent foresaw conflicts caused by discriminatory hiring policies against the elderly, while 71.4 percent felt problems would arise as young jobseekers compete with older candidates for the same position.

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