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[CARD NEWS] Anxiety of a Young Man before Joining the Military

July 05,2017

1) “Who is going to take care of my mother, a dementia patient, after I join the army?”

2) I am a sophomore in college who needs to join the army soon. Just the two of us, my mother and I, live together. Since my father passed away a long time ago, my mother worked extremely hard to raise me.

3) After I was done with my exams, when we were having a meal just as we did everyday, my mother hesitantly told me that she was diagnosed with dementia.

4) I had no idea. I did not know that it was dementia although my mother occasionally couldn’t go to work because she forgot when to go, sometimes left the house messy, and I saw her pouring water without a cup.

5) I burst into tears in the middle of the meal. I could not believe that my mother, who worked nights and days for 20 years to raise me and seemed to protect me forever, is diagnosed with dementia.

6) When I was cleaning the house, I accidentally found a notebook. My mom wrote, “What’s my son’s name?” and “Where is my house?” because she was afraid of forgetting her son.

7) The hospital said, with high possibility, my mother’s condition would rapidly worsen, and she might forget how to come back home in the future.

8) I am very worried about my mother because there is no one to take care of her when I join the army after one month.

9) This is a desperate story of one young man that was posted recently in the online community of a university in North Chungcheong.

10) After the Military Manpower Administration heard about this story, they are trying hard to help the young man solve his problems. “We are asking around in various ways to help him.” -Staff of North Chungcheong Regional Military Manpower Administration

11) Without considering the authenticity of the story, this kind of problem seems like it is not an issue for only one person. “Some say that it is relatively difficult to benefit from the ‘Reduction of military service due to troubles of maintaining the livelihood’ (a law that reduces military service for economically vulnerable people).’”

12) “In order for the subjects of compulsory military service to get exempted for livelihood-maintenance-related reasons, the result of ‘livelihood deliberation,’ conducted in diverse ways, is significant.” - Staff of North Chungcheong Regional Military Manpower Administration

13) According to the current criteria in “Reduction of military service due to troubles of maintaining the livelihood,” benefits for people with disabled family members and responsibility to support them, exist. However, no benefits are there particularly for people with dementia patient family members who have the responsibility to support them.

“According to the current law, generally acquired dementia is not categorized as a disability.” - Staff of Call Center for Central Dementia Counseling Center

14) One young man’s miserable story, worrying about his single mother diagnosed with dementia before joining the army, may be a common story in an era of 1 million dementia parents (2024). *sourced from the Center for Central Dementia in the Ministry of Health and Welfare

15) It is good news that dementia-related services and facilities are increasing, based on the “System of considering dementia as the responsibility of a nation” by the Moon Jae-in administration.
Along with the expansion of infrastructure, we wish that people, who are in blind spots just like the young man in the story, can have their anxiety reduced.

Directed by Lee Jeong-bong
Designed by Cho Sung-jin
Translated by Yee Jae-eun
Edited by James Constant