Twenty-seven elderly people go missing a day in South Korea
Number of missing elderly has jumped 30 per cent in five years
By Jung Min-ho
An increasing number of elderly people are going missing in Korea a worrying trend for the fast-aging society.
According to the National Police Agency, Monday, 9,869 dementia sufferers went missing in 2016. In other words, 27 people now go missing every day.
Some turn up dead, or not at all.
The number of missing elderly people has been increasing at an alarming pace over the past few years. From 7,650 in 2012, it jumped by nearly 30 per cent in just five years.
An 84-year-old woman with dementia was found dead last week near a stream, which was 500 metres from her house in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.
A police officer said dementia sufferers are often found in places that are least expected. “Some people seem just fine, but they could suddenly disappear when symptoms occur,” he said.
Dementia, which causes a long term and gradual decrease in cognitive abilities due largely to aging, has become a major concern for the country.
The National Institute of Dementia in Korea estimated in 2015 that nearly 650,000 people suffer from the disease and the number will reach 2.71 million by 2050.