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Large portion of older people have low self-esteem: survey

TAIPEI -- Adults aged 65 and older in Taiwan tend to have low levels of self-esteem, with 60 percent of them thinking of older people as feeble and sick and more than 40 percent believing senior people are a burden, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Health Promotion Administration.

The results of the telephone survey on health-risk factors conducted among 24,624 people aged over 15 also found that 68 percent of respondents aged over 65 feel that older people can resolve problems, while 48.3 percent said they have no ability to work.

Meanwhile, respondents aged 15-29 had the most positive views about older people, the survey found.

Chiou Shu-ti, director general of the Health Promotion Administration, said that only 22.9 percent of the younger respondents look upon older people as weak and sick, while more than 80 percent said older people have the ability to resolve problems. Those who think older people are a burden on their families and society and have no ability to work represented only 14 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively, of those polled.

Although 90 percent of older adults in Taiwan have at least one chronic condition, and 50 percent have at least three, this does not mean that they are weak, Chiou said, adding that people should try to stay young at heart as they grow older.

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