Seoul to provide downtown facilities for senior citizens
By Yi Whan-woo
The Seoul Metropolitan Government Friday announced plans to designate an area around Jongmyo and Tapgol Park as a street for senior citizens to provide a better environment for the elderly who frequent the district.
The downtown area draws 3,000 people in their late 60s or older every day, the largest such quota in the country.
The municipal authorities said that it is necessary to create a more favorable environment to help the elderly access the area and socialize with their peers.
“We will closely work with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to implement a plan that can meet the needs of elderly people and help them communicate with younger generations,” said Yang Hoon, a public relations official of City Hall.
Seoul will use the Sugamo Street in Toshima, northern Tokyo, as a role model. The area is the most popular shopping street for the elderly attracting an annual average of 9 million senior citizens.
It has around 200 stores for senior citizens that sell products such as canes, hearing aids, and false teeth. A number of owners and employees of the stores are also in their 60s or older, according to Yang.
The escalators at the subway stations on the district run slower for the convenience of those who can’t walk too quickly. And the subway maps displayed in and around the stations are in big letters that people with poor eyesight can read easily.
Yang said that Seoul will increase the number of stores for the elderly in areas around Jongmyo and Tapgol Park, which are far lower than those at Sugamo Street.
He added that the city will also build movie theaters that cater exclusively for the elderly and also provide more cultural programs for them to enjoy.
“Jongmyo and Tapgol Park are historic places and it’s important that we create a favorable environment for senior citizens, considering that they have worked hard and contributed to society.”