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Koreisha-Getting There in Japan.

Korreisha is a Japanese company, set up to find jobs for older, retired Japan.

Korrisha means older person and Kaisha means company. The two combined mean a company for the Aged.

Many Japanese who had reached retirement age, expressed a desire to stay working. The retirement age is 65.

Sound familiar? This is very similar to the aims and objectives of Getting There, except Korreisha has official backing with strong govermental cooperation.

28.9% of people want to stay working as long as they can and 55.3% want to stay working after the age of 65.. They work in new jobs not the career they were in. They are very trusted in quality control jobs, packing of delicate flowers for restaurants, cleaning condominiums, clerical work etc. They job share, working 3 days a week each, earning between 700-950$ a month.

To register, the person must be between 60-75, have vitality, physical strength and good mental abilities. Some of the workers are in their 80s and continue because they want to.

Given that there is a skill shortage, the government is coming up with new jobs that would suit these people.

Research has shown that Nutrition, Physical Activity and Community are the essential areas to maintain to keep people physically fit and avoid Dementia.

The Japanese are way ahead of us in many ways, but especially in how they are managing their ageing population..the reality is that there are more older people in sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia than in Japan and Europe combined. Most of them are very poor, but they are living longer.

However, Japan is leading the way in caring for the aged. It has set up interactive communities where older people can live comfortably, surrounded by a helpful, safe , well designed community. Interaction between the generations, whether in the exercise classes or activities is encouraged. A good transport stsyem, linking the community to the outside world is considered essential and the people are encouraged to travel.

Japan has the highest percentage of people aged over 100 and over 110.Realising that the best way to look after these people was to keep them active, healthy and engaged. Some of the younger workers can receive free accommodation in return for a number of hours of work. Robots are used to monitor health, take blood pressure, give directions, play computer games and provide comfort.

Paro a robot seal, covered in soft fur, with a face that shows emotion alleviates boredom, provides solace, reduces anxiety and reduces problematic behaviour such as abusive language, wandering and violence.

Exercise, diet and community are key. People are encouraged to buy healthy food and take specific exercises. Rising from a chair, maintaining balance, getting some cardio-vascular exercise maintains their over all health. Specific exercise programmes have been designed to keep everyone active and a strong link has been established between physical activity and staving off Dementia.

In order to re-introduce a sense of community, older people are invited to participate in various activities to which other age groups come to as well. Karoke is very popular. Environmental support is an area that the whole community can come together and participate. Support for children is very popular. Older people are happy to be vigilant at areas that children use going to and from school or football practice. In Japan, children are not accompanied everywhere by their parents. Older and younger people get together in communal areas or halls to play chess, computer games, cultural activities, art, writing. The authorities use these gatherings to communicate with the community, publish bulletins and even do on site health checks.

A professional club has been sending in its top athletes to work with older people and their grand children encouraging both to improve their football skills, balance, passing, ball catching. Everyone has a great time and it is an interaction of 3 generations.

However, all is not perfect either. While over 80% of people have expressed a desire to die in their own homes, the reality is that most deaths, over 90% take place in hospitals. Lonely deaths where the person dies in their own home, unnoticed and often unfound for weeks or even months is a growing concern. Special companies have been set up to clean and cleanse the apartments/houses , dispose of the personal belongings and restore a calm atmosphere to the dwelling. Prayers are offered and respect is shown, but it is very sad.


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