Over 25 pct of elderly don’t have enough money for 3 to 6 months’ living costs: Gung Luen

2023-07-05 03:36     BY Ginnie Liang    Comment:0

Findings of a recent survey show that over 80 percent of senior citizens’ main sources of income are “pensions from the Social Security Fund and personal savings”, of which 25 percent do not have enough money to cover three to six months’ living expenses, according to a statement by the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (commonly known as Gung Luen in Cantonese) yesterday.

The survey, entitled “Employment and Living Conditions of the Senior Citizens in Macau”, was conducted by Gung Luen and the private Catholic University of Saint Joseph (USJ), with the target population aged 55 or above. A total of 749 people were successfully interviewed, of whom over 80 percent were aged 65 or above, the statement said.

According to the statement, the survey was conducted in the hope that the government will continue to pay more attention to the living conditions of the elderly and provide them with the appropriate support.

In terms of willingness to continue working, over 20 percent of the non-working respondents said they were willing to work, mainly because they thought they could earn an income and still had the ability to work well.

Regarding mental health, only nearly half of the respondents were in “good psychological condition”, while 35 percent were in “moderate or severe” psychological distress. Among them, the mental health of elderly people living alone was more serious than others.

The survey also found that the respondents’ financial situation and physical health condition affected their psychological distress; for example, respondents with three or more illnesses suffered higher psychological distress and loneliness scores than other respondents.

In addition, nearly 40 percent of the respondents live alone, and over 30 percent had never accessed the Internet in the past three months

Gung Luen Vice President Ella Lei Cheng I said that the government should take the lead in promoting the participation of enterprises, so as to enhance the social inclusion of the elderly in employment and create favourable conditions for them to return to the workplace through practical policies.

Lei also pointed out that in recent years, neighbouring regions such as Taiwan and Hong Kong have promulgated laws or launched specialised employment programmes to promote the employment of senior citizens, which she hoped the government would take as reference, in terms of granting subsidies, on-the-job training, developing suitable employment opportunities, and promoting services for them. 

Vice President of the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (commonly known as Gung Luen in Cantonese) Ella Lei Cheng I (centre) addresses yesterday’s press conference, while representatives of the federation and the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) look on.
– Photo: MPDG

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