Man and dementia patient wife found dead

18-Sep-2021 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 5:01 PM Print This Post

An 80-year-old man who had been taking care of his wife, who had been suffering from dementia for years, was found dead with his wife, whom he presumably had killed.

According to Seoul Songpa Police Station, the couple’s daughter reported the case to police after finding her parents dead at their home in Ogeum-dong, Songpa District, Seoul, on the afternoon of September 13.

The man reportedly left a letter to his daughter, where he said that he would take his wife with him.

The man had been taking care of his wife, 78, since 2018, when she was diagnosed with dementia. As his wife’s symptoms worsened, he had been visiting a local dementia support centre for assistance in caring for her. He rarely showed up from May, however, and the centre lost contact with him in June.

According to a report by SBS, a major broadcaster, the couple’s neighbours described them as a loving couple. The husband had obtained a caregiver certificate to take better care of his wife, but her condition deteriorated rapidly. A neighbour said that the husband was in great distress, as the wife sometimes unknowingly injured herself or wandered off, putting herself at risk of harm.

As Korea’s average life expectancy has reached 83.3, the number of dementia cases is increasing. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of dementia patients is expected to reach 1.36 million in 2030 and over 3 million in 2050.

While the government has been introducing measures to help dementia patients and their families, experts say they are far from enough, compared with in developed countries.

“First of all, people don’t want to openly discuss dementia in their family due to negative perceptions of the illness. Even if one is diagnosed with dementia, the care system provided by the government still isn’t widely available for all families,” said Cho Moun-gi, a professor of the Department of Elderly Welfare at Korea Soongsil Cyber University.

“Care services for those registered as dementia patients are not sufficient. There is no provision for 24-hour care, so much of the work of caring for the dementia patient is still left to family members. Caregivers often suffer depression or even take the lives of the patient and of themselves, due to an inability to cope with the extreme stress of caring for their severely ill loved one.”


Category: Korea

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