9,000 more residents, including seniors living in Yeongjongdo and residents under customized care programs, could benefit from the initiative
With Incheon’s senior care initiative featuring local hospitals selected by the “Residents’ Participatory Budget System,” the City Government plans on expanding its scope to cover more local residents.
This senior care initiative, which began as a pilot project in 2022, will become a full-fledged program available across more districts in Incheon.
The number of beneficiaries of the initiative is expected to reach 9,000 this year thanks to a lower eligible age (from 70 to 65, eligible seniors must be on basic pension support), and the inclusion of previously in eligible senior citizens (Yeongjongdo residents and seniors under customized care programs).
The senior care initiative offered in collaboration with local hospitals is a one-stop service that helps the elderly access hospitals, including volunteers to transport them to and from hospitals, help seniors register at kiosks available at hospitals, and assist them with paying at hospitals. Eligible seniors can apply at their nearest Administrative and Welfare Center or their local Volunteer Center.
Seniors must use local hospital-level medical institutions within Incheon’s jurisdiction on weekdays only (service unavailable on weekends and public holidays) and travel either by taxi or in a car driven by a volunteer for free.
Volunteers are given a flatrate of KRW 20,000 if they use their own vehicles to transport seniors. As for taxis, Incheon will cover the actual fare paid. Yeongjongdo residents, however, will get an additional KRW 10,000 given its geographical limitations (toll fares are also subsidized).
The initiative is a form of senior care network using volunteers, and is significant because it not only reduces labor costs, but also lays the groundwork for ordinary citizens to help solve issues their local communities are facing. In fact, compared to similar services in other cities and provinces across Korea, Incheon's senior care initiative with hospitals saves roughly KRW 1.3 billion per year.
The City plans to increase the number of volunteer hours awarded to locals participating in the initiative from four hours to eight hours starting this year to ensure the continuity of the project and further encourage people to join the initiative.
Incheon will also recruit and train a total of 240 volunteers, 30 for each district (Gu district) center, and officially launch the new volunteer corps on April 8.