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Nursing home residents lament COVID-19 restrictions as Chuseok approaches
Updated: 2020-09-25 06:15:02 KST
Many senior citizens in South Korea have trouble facing the reality that COVID-19 restrictions have practically erased Chuseok from the calendar.
Struggling most are the elderly living in so-called "high risk" special care facilities where no visitors are allowed.

"It hurts that I can't see my family even though they're nearby. I miss my babies My great-granddaughter But what can I do?"
This interview was conducted in strict adherence to quarantine and public safety guidelines.

Deemed to be too vulnerable, nursing home residents have been cut off from the outside world.
Their children share the frustration.

"One day, she said to me, 'Looks like I won't be going home for Chuseok' and it hurt I received a lot of love from my mother throughout my life I want to pay at least a tenth of it back but it doesn't look like I can."

Experts worry that the distress senior citizens will feel from not being able to meet family members may take its toll on their mental health.

"When the elderly start suffering from various illnesses and live in nursing homes, self-esteem is bound to be very low. And if their children don't visit for the holidays, severe depression or disappointment, even feelings of abandonment may follow."

Aware of the risks, one nursing home in Seoul is utilizing modern technology to help save Chuseok.

"We upload photos and videos of our residents' daily activities onto BAND, a social networking service, so they can communicate with their families online."

Reminding society that sometimes, whether it be a 'like' on social media or just a simple phone call, a little human warmth is all that's needed.

While keeping a physical distance from elderly relatives is a must this Chuseok, it's important that people make efforts to close the emotional gap between their family members.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
Reporter : alicosell@arirang.com