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Safety seats for elderly; 'longlife chairs' to help senior citizens wait for traffic lights safer Updated: 2022-08-12 17:30:01 KST

South Korea has a growing elderly population and with that comes the associated problems for older citizens.
Inspired by the problems faced by senior pedestrians and with their health and safety in mind, one member of South Korea's police force decided to action.
Our KIM Jung-sil went to find out more.

This is a Jangsoouija, meaning "longlife chair" in Korean. and it has been named as such as its function is to contribute to a longer life for its elderly users.
In a town in Namyangju district, east of Seoul, some 60 chairs just like this, have been installed close to pedestrian crosswalks.

"As you can see it's usually folded like this to avoid getting in the way of other pedestrians. But if you want to use it, like me, you can unfold it by pressing it down, and voila! It turns into a chair. You can now take that brief but at times critical minute or two break for the light to turn green."

And while we were at the site, we saw some people using the chair.
"We get to sit and rest a bit so my legs hurt less. I also appreciate the parasol to avoid direct sunlight.
Us elderly people appreciate this so much."

She said her friends in the town often use the chairs as well.

Another person came, this time someone with a knee problem.
"I suffer from arthritis so when I'm waiting for the light to change my legs hurt so much. But using this chair I can take a short break so I'm very thankful to whoever did this."

Meet police Superintendent Yoo Chang-hoon who came up with the idea.
After working in this neighborhood for nearly 2 decades, Yoo said he wanted to reduce the risk of traffic accidents among elderly pedestrians.
He says they tend to cross roads even when crosswalk lights are red because of physical discomfort.
"When I was working as a police chief in this neighborhood, I asked elderly people why they crossed the street when the light was red, they told me it's because their knees and legs hurt just standing up. I got my inspiration then and thought I could just install some chairs."

This is actually a serious issue here in South Korea.
In 2018, when he first came up with the idea, 518 people were killed due to crossing the street when they shouldn't have.
Nearly 62 percent of them were people over 65 years of age.
Superintendent Yoo says he thinks "the seats can reduce those accidents by 80%."

The 60 chairs installed in the area cost around one,five hundred U.S. dollars, all paid for out of Superintendent Yoo's own pocket.
"It's my duty as a police officer to protect the lives of citizens. I wanted to pay for them myself so they could be installed as soon as possible to protect the elderly from getting into accidents."

A "longlife chair" with the hope of longer lives for citizens and users.
KIM Jung-sil, Arirang News.
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