Government spending on long-term care to reach NT$40 billion: premier

2019/09/05 19:52:44 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Thursday that the government's funding of long-term care is expected to increase to nearly NT$40 billion (US$1.28 billion) in 2020.

Taiwan officially became an aging society in 1993 when 7 percent of the local population comprised senior citizens and transitioned into an aged society in March 2018 with the elderly accounting for 14 percent of the total population, Su said.

To cope with rapid population aging, the government in January 2017 rolled out "10-year Long-term Care Plan 2.0," an amended version of the Long Term Care Act passed in 2015, Su added.

Spending has risen gradually, from nearly NT$5 billion in 2016 to a planned NT$33.8 billion this year and is projected to reach NT$40 billion in 2020, with the aim of expanding the services provided by the government to care for the elderly and disabled, Su noted.

Currently, 7,000 long-term care service centers have been established around Taiwan and in excess of 200,000 people were served from January to July, up from 80,000 in the same period of 2017, he indicted.

To provide better services, the government raised pay for long-term care workers to an average of NT$38,000 last year, with the number of long-term care workers reaching 35,000 last year, an increase of over 6,000 from a year earlier, according to Su.

In addition, the central government in collaboration with local governments will provide incentives for the construction of long-term care facilities, he said.

Noting that by 2026, Taiwan will become a super-aged society where at least 20 percent of the population are 65 or older, Su said, the government will continue to push construction of long-term care institutions to provide a wide range of high quality services and meet growing demand.

For the first seven months of this year, 205,156 people have received home or community-based long-term care services, an increase of 56 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)
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