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Aging in Korea

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Handong Global University

Counseling Psychology and Social Welfare School

CSW20064 – Social Problems

Professor:  Lee Ji Sun

Aging in Korea

Group Discussion Paper

Esther Han (21400795)

Esther Koh (21400020)

Katarzyna Chudeusz (21720104)

Rebeka Anna Zsoldos (21720088)

Kívés Blanka (21720098)

Do Whee Lee (21100474)

2017/Fall semester


  1. What do you think the perception of aging in Korea is like?

Generally there is still a lot of respect toward elderly people in the Korean society but the perceptions towards them got worse in the recent years, due to the phenomena of older people being an instrument for committing a crime. A few years ago cases of young girls going missing in Korea became a hot topic of discussion. After investigating the disappearances, the cases had one thing in common: the girls were last seen with an elderly lady or a grandfather who was asking them to help them and lured the girls to a distant place. Furthermore, the girls were used for human trafficking and prostitution. And as it turned out the elderly people were helping the criminals because of lack of finance to live by.

Also, there is a huge cultural gap between the elders and the younger generations, due to a rapid change of Korean society, in area of values and the way of thinking. Younger people perceive elders as stubborn and narrow-minded.

In Korea aging itself is perceived as something negative, something to be afraid of. Like the negative interpretation of the number 9, when appearing in the person’s age. It is because that means the person is becoming a decade older. For example a woman who is 29, will perceive her age negatively because soon she will become 30, which she considers “old” compared to the twenty-something years.

The typical perception of ‘getting old’ has to be changed. What we should rather focus on is how to get old well, the way of well-being, and not the negative side of ageing.

  1. Stereotypes and examples of ageism in media and society.

We can find some true facts in the stereotypes as they are based on some examples or experiences, yet they must not be applied generally, as it is very unfair. Like the stereotype about dementia, it would be a good warning sign to be aware of its existence and to take care of one’s mental health, but today it is a fact that the elderly people are stereotypically viewed as dementia patients. So the negative effect is that it caused an automatic connection that old age equals sickness.

In the media, old people are usually portrayed as grumpy people who are dependent on others. They are shown in situations that they need constant help and patience. For example, medical commercials prefer to use old people as actors, further deepening the stereotype of all elderly people being sick and needing medicine in order to live. Moreover, most board games have age limitations for the players, mostly setting the maximum age as 90. This suggests that people over the age of 90 are not mentally able or advised to play them anymore or use entertainment.

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