It is no exaggeration to say that Korea has already entered an aging society. However, preparations for an aging society are still in their infancy. First, it is necessary to have interest and understanding of the elderly welfare and the silver industry. Universities opening departments of senior businesses recently reflects this. Leading the trend, Hanyang Cyber University Department of Senior Business Management covers areas such as products, services, housing, care, education, leisure and many more. <PowerKorea> sat down with professors Kim Shin-young and Choi Sook-hee and learned the now and the future of Korea’s senior care market.
Ever changing senior care market
How should we prepare?
The senior care market is receiving the most attention from the elderly these days. Professor Choi Sook-hee points out that although the market has emerged rapidly since 2008, it has not been as active as expected. Professor Choi said, “2023 is the year when the last generation of the baby boomers, born in 1963, will celebrate their 60th birthday. In the past, there were many elderly people who were not prepared for retirement and lacked purchasing power. From this year, it is expected that the baby boom generation in their 60s, who are more economical and relatively well-prepared for retirement, will form the market. This seems realistic and will give a push-up of the market which somewhat has been doubted about the growth potential by many.” Kim continued “Social demand for nursing care is expected to continue to increase. As baby boomers enter the market, I believe segmentation in products and services will occur. In particular, I think nursing care and housing for the middle and low-income classes should be the most important part of the academic courses. Another thing is food. The relatively young senior group has a high need for a balanced diet and healthy food, so this part should also be considered. And the need in fact has soared during the time of the pandemic. Alongside, they value highly of mental and psychological health as well.”
How should we face the emerging market?
Professor Kim Shin-young has rich experience in senior business education. He talks about the purpose and potential of this department as follows: “The parents generation had no time to think about such thing as preparation for old age. They were busy getting by. Nowadays, even young people in their 20s and 30s are thinking about old age. Although it is not yet in the demand stage, people’s interest and related education is growing. However, it is clear that the need for the senior care market is increasing. It is important for professional educational institutions to deliver relevant knowledge and create an environment in which to study. This department plays a role in preparing students rather than providing content that can be used immediately in the market. For example, the life planner license and the ending coordinator course were programs that reflected the issues and interests of the time. Acquisition of unique knowledge and skills is essential. The key is how well they can unfold in their second life with their experiences and knowledge.” In fact, students majoring in this department are working at companies, banks, hotels, welfare centers, and healthcare centers in related fields. In particular, the emergence of senior finance and asset management experts is not uncommon nowadays. Professor Choi said “Our generation has already aged and is experiencing it still. On the other hand, it seems that the understanding of the elderly when young is remarkably low. The good thing about this department is that you can understand not only products and related knowledge, but also people. After graduation, it is even better because you can start a business or get a job in a related field.”
The department opened YouTube channel last year to provide information on the current state and direction of welfare policy, how to use senior media, and the need for lifelong learning.
Kim said “The person I am today was not created suddenly, but was created through the accumulation of past experiences. My actions, will, and plans in the present are what make me in the future. It means to find and study ways to live a healthy old age without burdening others. This department is the only one in Korea that has a demographic and economic understanding of the aging era, and continues research and educational activities from a business perspective on the market. The department is the most practical and efficient major in an aging society I think. Korea is aging the fastest in the world. We have to think about how to handle the growing aging population, and people’s interest in new industries will increase also. At this critical juncture, the department will present a new milestone.”
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