Aging in Japan: Causes and Consequences - Part III: The Elderly

Horlacher, D. (2002). Aging in Japan: Causes and Consequences - Part III: The Elderly. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-02-002

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This survey reviews current research on the impact of present demographic trends -- population aging combined with slower overall population growth -- on Japan's elderly population and their families. Among the conclusions, which emerge, are the following:

Living arrangements are a major determinant of the level of support of the elderly. In particular, the availability of care from a spouse or a child may be essential to the well being of the very old and the frail elderly. In the long run however, the importance of the family as a source of support for the elderly will decrease. This is inevitable because the share of the frail elderly population will increase and the capability of families to care for older parents will decrease. The decline in the ability of families to provide in-home care will decrease not only because of industrialization and urbanization but also because of the aging of the caregivers.

The health care system in Japan is not appropriate to the needs of the elderly. There is an excess of acute care hospital-based facilities and a shortage of chronic care nursing home-based facilities. Furthermore both hospital and nursing home facilities tend to assume that the condition of the elderly can only remain the same or deteriorate. They fail to promote rehabilitation and as a result they lack the necessary human and physical resources needed to restore bedridden elderly to a more active state.

Increasingly the elderly are living in independent households and are depending on their own incomes that are largely derived from wages, salaries, and pensions. Compared to the elderly of other OECD nations, the elderly of Japan are in a very strong financial position. For those over age 60, average household savings is about 200,000 Euros and their annual income of those households was about 45,000 Euros. Relative to that of all Japanese households, the average income of elderly households rose rapidly in the decade between 1975 and 1985 and since that time has remained at about that of all households. As a result there has been a marked decline in the incidence of poverty among the elderly.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Social Security Reform (SSR)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:14
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:18

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