Along with the growth of society, longevity is also growing. Advancement in medicine not only help patients, but it also helps the growth of longevity as well. The growth of society has changed the family structure from extended families of chain of generations into two-family generations. This situation makes many elderly people in need of support from others.
While the number of elderly people is increasing, there are few people supporting the elderly people. The difference between demand and supply is also a big problem. Japan has started the Elderly Care Insurance and Service since 1960s and now they are very mature in this field but the labor shortage is a problem. However, Japan’s declining birthrate is worsening the problem of aging. Elderly population increases as the birthrate decreases !!! This has been a major issue for Japan for many years.
老々介護＝Elderly support Elderly
認認介護＝Dementia support Dementia
介護離職＝Care leave (quit the job to support elderly)
There are many new findings about elderly matters these days. Not only new findings but also many new discoveries and lots of new information are updated daily. Nevertheless, the reality is that the gap between demand and supply is increasing. Even Japan has accepted foreign helpers to fill the gap, still the labor shortage is continuing. Measures taken by Japan several years ago have been “Healthy Lifespan”.
The above table shows the gap between Average Lifespan and Healthy Lifespan.
Healthy Lifespan means we can live independently even without support from domestic helper. Upper graph above shows the Average Lifespan and the lower graph shows the Healthy Lifespan. Green high light area indicates the elderly needs support, on average, males approximately 9 years and females 12 years, respectively, in their life.
If we can extend our Healthy Lifespan longer, then we do not need extended support and in the same time we can independently enjoy more. These means we need to take good care of ourselves.
In recent years I have been able to watch many programs with health content on TV. Each TV programs not only targeting at food and exercise, they also introduce relevant specific themes such as Bone age, Blood vessel age, Nerve age, Muscle age, Eye age, Hormone age, Skin age, Body fat age, Brain age, Brain training, Sleep, Immune function, etc.
I am a lazy person, I eat many unhealthy food but I will eat more healthy food that I like. I do not exercise much but I stretch and walk 10km per day. I do not like water but I will drink a lot of sparkling water. We all know we have to be healthy but in many ways unhealthy things are sometimes attractive to us.
As we know not only our body needs to be healthy, our mental health is very important as well. Our body and our mental balance can make our life different and complicated. Never too late and never give up, let us get healthy life started.
About the Author
Mamie H. Ogata
Principal of OEUF Limited
Born in Hong Kong and educated in Tokyo. Returned to Hong Kong after eight years in Shanghai. Family’s background in medical, change her profession into Elderly Care after 20 years spent in architecture. An entrepreneur who introduces Japanese Elderly Care to Hong Kong from a different perspective. With partnerships in Japan and Taiwan.