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Promoting digital inclusion among older people in Hong Kong: Challenges and prospect

Most East Asian countries have policies to promote digital inclusion, or simply bridging digital gaps, especially among children of low-income families and persons with disabilities, for social development purposes. However, such efforts and impacts among older people are rather limited. Given the demographic characteristics of the older cohort in Hong Kong, in 2008 only 7% of those aged 65 or above were internet users, comparing to 33% of those in the same age group in the United States. This paper discusses a measure of digital inclusion among people from 6 major disadvantaged groups in Hong Kong (sample size = 2,312), and the experiences and results of training older people in using the computer and internet (sample size = 500). Issues and effectiveness of promoting older people in taking part in the information society are discussed. It recommends that in addition to tailor-made training for older people, software and hardware support, and community organizing to promote use among peers are important to promote awareness and interest in ICT usage.

Full paper: Wong_2009_digital inclusion_poster.pdf

Introduction: Depression is one of the most common mood disorders experienced by the elderly, characterized by a loss of appetite, sleep, interest in everyday activities, and feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Depression among the elderly has been linked to a number of psychosocial factors such as the level of income, gender, presence of physical illness, ethnicity, and self-esteem. Given that stressful life events are strongly associated with the level of depression experienced by the elderly, it is crucial to examine the mental health status of elderly persons particularly in multi-ethnic families, the fastest growing families in Korea. With almost 13% of marriages in Korea occur between foreign nationals and Korean men and women, it is important to examine how the elderly persons living with their children and foreign children-in-laws are faring in their much new families with great challenges. This study is thus an attempt to explore the depression level of the elderly in multi-ethnic families and examine various psychosocial factors that play a role in determining the level.

Method: A total of 155 elderly persons living in multi-ethnic families were recruited via a convenient sampling method in Daejeon, Korea. T-test, ANOVA, Pearson correlation, and multi-regression analyses were performed using SPSS 15.

Introduction: As part of an effort to prepare for the entry into an ageing society, many OECD countries including Korea have formulated a number of long-term strategies. One of such plans involves the sustainment of employment among the aged, restricting pathways to early retirement and promoting a more gradual transition to retirement. Retaining old workers in the labor market has been regarded in rather positive light as it is arguably effective in reducing the public expenditures. However, one may question the effective of such approach. This is particularly relevant in Korea where the employment rate of the aged is the highest among OECD countries. Given that many of the aged remain in the market mainly for the reasons of economic sustainment due to the yet stabilized social security system, it is plausible that government strategies to elongate the employment period may be ineffective in promoting the wellbeing of the aged as work itself may be a source of great psychological stress. This paper thus examines the relationship between their employment and mental health, namely depression. In doing so, the paper can provide an empirical basis on which better intervention policies can be developed for the aged in Korea as well as Asia.

Method: Using Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLoSA), this study examines the relationship between the labor market participation of the aged and depression. The analyses comprise of two main parts: first, the relationship between the two is examined using structural equation modeling (SEM) and second, the relationship is examined between the two age groups, those below 65 years of age and the above using multi-group analysis to see if any differences exist in the level of depression between the age groups.

Results & Discussion: The model fit of the full path model was considered satisfactory given that the model yielded RMSEA of .057, IFI and CFI values of .964 with chi-square value of 1645.276 (df=76, p<.05). The findings show that variables that were significant in predicting the level of depression among the aged were employment status, household income, health status, education, marital status, and participation in social activities. More specifically, individuals who reported of being employed, married, healthy, and socially active and having higher income and educational background were found to be less depressed than their counterparts. The result of the multi-group analyses, however, reveals an interesting finding. While other socio-demographic variables remain to have the same effect on both the below 65 and above 65 groups, the employment status affects the depression level only in the below 65 age group. This finding implies that labor market participation does not carry a significant meaning to the psychological wellbeing of those over 65 years of age, which is contrary to the findings of the previous literatures as well as the active ageing paradigm that is promoted across the ageing societies. This study further provides several plausible explanations for these findings as well as both policy and practice implications.

'Aging in place' can be defined as the process of individuals growing older in their own homes or community without moving out to another residential setting. Community living is highly valued by most older persons and is the location of choice. While a majority of older adults prefer to live as long as possible in their familiar surroundings, the factors that promote aging in place are not sufficiently examined. This study investigated the relationship between social support and the planning for aging in place. This study used data from the Community Partnerships for Older Adults Program Survey and the sample was composed of respondents who were living independently either in a rented place or in their own place and who were healthy at the survey time (N= 2,461). Social support was used as emotional support and instrumental/informational support. Emotional support was measured by marital status, the number of living child, and social network, which consisted of attendance of religious events and entertainment activities, and getting together with family, friends, or neighbors. Informational support was measured by the extensive knowledge of home- and community-based long-term care services (HCBS) availability (i.e., senior center, adult day program, housekeeping service, senior lunch program, telephone helpline, home repair assistance, visiting nurse service, personal assistance, and door-to-door transportation). Having more social network in the community and knowledge of HCBS were related to an older age which the respondents anticipated to remain living on their own with regular help. Findings have implications for developing more emotional and informational social support resources in the community. Older adults need more opportunities of participating social activities in the community and become aware of the availability and accessibility of HCBS. Finally, applicability of aging in place to Korea will be discussed.

This research focuses on public preference in terms of the scope and role of government. For example, which magnitude of government is preferred, large or small? Which is the favored government form; welfare state, liberal state, developmental state or social democratic state? This research begins with the question 'What is the proper role of government?'as its analytical core.

This research aims to examine the hallmark of public conceptions of government all over the world. For our research, we used the International Social Survey Programme's 'Role of Government(2006)' survey by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research ICPSR at the University of Michigan. This survey is generally highly acknowledged for its research value due to the wide variety of survey items, ample sample size and range of nations surveyed.

The outline of this paper is as follows. First of all, as an analytical framework, we will classify the roles of government into economic and welfare roles. Second, making use of survey questionnaires querying people's thoughts toward the roles of government, we will draw a conceptual index for the economic role of government and for the welfare role of government. Third, through comparing these indices, we will point out the dominant conceptions of government by nation. we will also reveal the tendency and hallmark of public preferences. Fourth, we compare the perception indices with the real policy outcomes of each country.

The aim of the study was to investigate treatment compliance and its related factors in the suspect atopic dermatitis patients. This study attempted to apply the Health Belief Model(HBM) to examine the relationships among factors that are considered to be clinically common and meaningful to treatment compliance for atopic dermatitis. It then expanded the model to incorporate additional elements more frequently observed in younger patients, namely family support, social support, and self-efficacy, to examine the relative impact among various factors on therapeutic compliance. The data for analysis derive from a survey that was conducted on 100 Korean patients who are at elementary school age and suffering from suspect atopic demititis. The respondents answered to a self-administered questionnaire which consists of items prepared according to the HBM and additionally included items on social support, family assistance and self-efficacy. The study results showed that additional to elements in the original HBM, parent-child relationship and social support were found significant in reducing behaviors that can worsen the symptoms among suspect atopic dermatitis patients. Strategies for clinical social work services in health settings need to be developed to improve parent-child relationship and social network. Such services can contribute not only to prevent worsening of the symptoms and enhance treatment compliance but also to improve mental health of young patient with suspect atopic demititis and their families.
Depression among older adults is prevalent and a considerable amount of burden in physical, psychosocial, and economic terms. Early detection and intervention do not occur as frequently as it is desired, and which is more salient among older adults of a lower socioeconomic status. As in other illnesses, it is essential to a favorable prognosis for the person having a problem to be able to identify symptoms, seek early intervention, and cooperate with subsequent services, thus any efforts to work with depression among older adults should follow an understanding on their ability to identify symptoms. This study interviewed 113 low-income older adults living in an urban area, and explored their ability to correctly identify depressive symptoms and factors related to identification. The study results show that respondents who were able to correctly identify symptoms of depression were only 20%. Of the factors in the logistic regression model, age being 75 and over and mass media as source of mental health information affected negatively their ability to correctly identify symptoms; people around, staff at various agencies serving older adults and mental health education programs affected positively their ability. Based on these results, it is suggested that such strategies as face-to-face provision of concrete information and counseling can be more effective than delivery of large-scale lectures. Additionally, a future research deems necessary to conduct an in-depth examination of mental health/illness-related contents on mass media.

Purposes: As population rapidly ages, the economically productive population has greatly decreased in South Korea. With this demographic transition, the country is witnessing a steady inflow of immigrant workers from neighboring nations. It is therefore essential for South Korea to receive these workers in order to maintain an adequate workforce. However, Koreans' inexperience in coexisting with foreigners has caused social and cultural discrimination against the immigrant workers. This study explores socio-cultural features that trigger tensions and conflicts between Koreans and immigrants. The study also reviews an instructive example of social integration, which assimilated Korean immigrants with mainstream Americans following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.

Method and Results: Using a qualitative research methodology, the study explores four factors that tend to trigger racial tensions between native Koreans and immigrant workers: 1) social exclusion of foreigners; 2) cultural values stressing the nation's homogeneity; 3) discrimination of immigrants; 4) lack of experience in multiculturalism. The study also examines the 1992 Los Angeles riots and its immediate aftermath as an example of racial conflict and integration using three categories: 1) the historical background of immigration in Los Angeles; 2) causes and effects of the riots; 3) efforts to overcome and minimize racial segregation. Finally, this study argues that following the example in Los Angeles, racial tensions in South Korea can be minimized through multi-ethnic coalition building as well as education on multiculturalism.

Implications: This study presents three policy implications. First, the study suggests implementing a program of multicultural education in South Korea. Second, South Korean society needs to support national policies that address challenges caused by the growing immigration of foreign workers. Finally, major government assistance including job training, housing support, health care and welfare can improve living conditions of immigrant workers.

The aim of this study is to empirically examine the difference between male-headed households and female-headed households in the factors affecting the likelihood of poverty exit. For the purpose, we used the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study(KLIPS) data collected by the Korea Labor Institute for analysis. We divided the KLIPS data into two subsets, male-headed household data set and female-headed household data set. For each set, we defined the dependent variable of whether a household that had been below the poverty line at one point in time exited from poverty after a certain period of time, analyzed the effects of a series of independent variables on the dependent variable using logistic regression and compared the analysis results of the two groups.

The major findings and their policy implications are as follows. First, the poverty exit rate of female-headed households was about 16-19% lower than that of male-headed households. This result suggests that it is much more difficult for female-headed households to exit from poverty than male-headed households. Second, that the householder is working only increases the likelihood of poverty exit of male-headed households, suggesting that female householders, even if they work, are less likely to earn enough income to improve the likelihood of poverty exit. To increase the poverty exit rate of female-headed households, interventions that make the labor market favorable to female workers are of necessity. Third, those households with more elderly are less likely to exit from poverty than those with less elderly regardless of the gender of the householder. This result shows that unlike what has been known until now, care giving is a heavy burden for male-headed households as well as female-headed households that refrains householders from working. It is necessary that more attention should be paid if the care giving services needs of male-headed households are properly addressed. Finally, it was found that the health condition of female householders has a significant effect on the likelihood of poverty exit. This implies that for female householders improving the accessibility to proper medical services is a matter of high priority in helping them to become economically self-sufficient.

From 1990s the ageing population forced Taiwan aware the needs of the care service for old age people. The state tried to design care mechanism and announced "Long Term Care Ten Years Plan" on 2007. Under the implementation of long term care service by tax, there are care management center has been set on each city and county. However, reviewing the annual report of each city and county, the implementation rate is low especially on the specific care services. In hence, this study stands on social reality to analyze the way in which the long term care policy implementation can be applied to resolve the phenomena of social needs in Taiwan. By contrast, under the implementation might raised more diverse situations and face more obstacles to access to care service? Moreover, what has resulted is social exclusion/inclusion on accessing care service in which living area, public needs and welfare allocation are all need to be taken into consideration. Also, the spatial data will be applied to examining the level of policy implementation.

This paper tried to use the 25 city and county annual report and GIS (Geographic Information System) to evaluate the way in which long term care service has been implemented through the space and area. The findings of this study may helps policy maker to rethink service delivery system and rearrange care resources since the new government is enthusiastic to redesign long term care system.