Demographics

Japan – case study of ways of dealing with an ageing population

Japan has had to deal with ageing at least a decade before many western-developing economies. Hence Japan is providing leadership, innovation and know-how, which will likely provide something of a practical starting point. An article in the globeandmail.com they give a number of examples of ways in which an ageing population changes the ways companies go about business and how the population is handling the challenge of ageing.

As one example: “For corporations such as Lawson Inc., a Tokyo-based convenience store chain with 12,000 stores in Japan, the country’s aging society is a reality, as well as a business opportunity. At a Lawson store in Saitama City, the company created a hybrid store featuring a “seniors’ salon” with a blood pressure monitor, pamphlets on municipal health care services and nursing homes, and on-staff social workers. The store also has a special section featuring adult diapers, special wipes for bathing the elderly, straw cups, a gargling basin and detergent that is tough on urine and perfect for bed mats and wheelchair coverings. Staff will also deliver heavier items, such as bags of rice or water, to local residents. “

However to be honest even Japan is still struggling to come to terms with its ageing population. As this TV clip shows there are some good initiatives underway in Japan but in 2015 there were still significant gaps between the needs of the elderly and what the government was delivering. Even in some of the largest cities there was a significant under provision of care and facilities.

For a more detailed look at the history of the Japanese system for long-term care this article from the Australian Journal of Ageing provides an interesting perspective. The article looks in detail at the history of the Japanese system and makes comparisons with the system in Australian. One important point made is that there is a stronger culture in Japan of the young looking after the old and for older members of the family to live with the young. Such a culture is much less prevalent in the west.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-6612.2007.00258.x/full

This article was attributed and provided by PG International

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