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Elderly S. Koreans feeling lonely as COVID-19 outbreak affects their social lives Updated: 2020-05-21 10:02:04 KST

Jeong Nam-poong is a retired tool store owner in his late eighties.
After his wife passed away some 20 years ago, he has spent countless hours dancing the days away at so-called 'colatecs', daytime discotheques specifically aimed at senior citizens.
This colatec reopened as the number of COVID-19 cases went down in South Korea, but was shuttered again after the outbreak in Itaewon clubs.
He needed to talk and dance with people, so Jeong and his friends from the colatec decided to meet at a park in Seoul.
With their face masks on, they let out their energy with some moves, their bodies jigging along with the music.

"Dancing is amazing. K-pop It's like old school K-pop. Hopefully, I can dance, have fun and exercise my mind as well."

As elderly people are usually not accustomed to using mobile devices or other types of technology, they have to meet others in person to have a social life.

"Actually, colatecs are like playgrounds for people our age. So, closing them is just like killing us. I hope they reopen soon and we can get our energetic lives back."

In South Korea, people over the age of 65 account for almost 16 percent of the population, but the number is rising rapidly.
Statistics Korea says, by 2045, that figure will be 37 percent, the highest in the world.
COVID-19 has naturally made many elderly people nervous, but some are crying out for some face-to-face interaction as loneliness is something that cannot be treated in a hospital.
Jang Tae-hyun, Arirang News.
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