Today 1 in 5 of the population of Japan is over 60 and growing. More and more people are living past their 100 year birthday. The market for this segment of the population in 2025 will be worth 910 billion.
Respect for all people is highly prized in Japan, particularly so for the older people because the cult of the ancestors is embedded in the culture.
Unlike here, where increasingly older people are referred to as a 'growing problem', 'bed=blockers' 'tied up equity'.etc etc. There is an underlying wish that the older people here would just hand over their wealth and houses to people who really need both. Abuse of the elderly, whether in residential homes or in their own homes , is increasingly common, sadly.
The Japanese have had time to think about this and come up with solutions. Specially prepared food, that is appetising to look at, pleasant to eat and looks like their favourite food , is carefully prepared and delivered to their homes or the residential homes. Special back braces have been developed for the carers to protect their backs when lifting or turning. patients. Chairs and beds are adaptable. Discreet rails are installed throughout the buildings.
Because there has been a drop in the birth rate and there are fewer younger people, robots have been developed which continuously monitor heart rate, movement, breathing , sleep and coughs. There are robots who sing and do exercises with the people and encourage interaction. There are comfort toys for stroking. People can stay in their own homes for longer. Because the robots have taken over the mundane jobs, it frees up the carers to concentrate on interaction and conversation which over there, as over here, is associated with health and well being
Japan has been looking at its model and realises that this is a growing market throughout the western world. Rather than produce lots of products for export, they are looking at setting up various hubs around the world which will build ageing friendly houses/communities and all the equipment needed.
Look out for one coming near you soon.