Yesterday marked Thailand’s Day of the Elderly, and if Thai customs have conditioned you just right, one of the most disconcerting sights you could possibly witness is of an elderly person still working. Our mentality that we should always care for our parents in old age makes us shudder at the reality of old folks still toiling away to make ends meet.
According to a report by the National Statistical Office of Thailand released in 2012, up to 3.4 million people over the age of 60 — out of the total number of 8.6 million — are still working. The majority of those still labouring are in the Northeast, followed by the North, Central, South and finally in Bangkok, with around 200,000 senior employees. Farming and fishing are the industries that have the highest percentage of elderly workers, at 60%, while sales and services come in second at 17%.
For many, life during the golden years isn’t exactly a golden picture anymore and the picture isn’t becoming any less bleak with the numbers of older people in the workforce growing every year. Thailand is becoming an ageing population faster than all our Southeast Asian neighbours; by 2025, according to World Health Organization, one in five people in Thailand will be a senior citizen.
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