Faces of Aging: The Lived Experiences of the Elderly in Japan

By Yoshiko Matsumoto | Go to book overview

6 The Value of Talk
Critical Perspectives on Studying the Speech
Practices of Elderly People in the United
States with Implications for Japan

Anne R. Bower


The Similarity of American and Japanese Aging Concerns

In 2004, the number of people over the age of 65 in Japan was 24.8 million, about 20 percent of the Japanese population. This is expected to increase to about 35 percent by 2050 (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research 2002). In 2000, the population over 65 in the United States was 35 million, about 12.4 percent of the total population. This number is expected to increase to about 20 percent in 2050, constituting a projected 79 million (United States Census Bureau 2004). Not surprisingly, Japan and the United States share similar concerns about how to meet the projected long-term care needs of their growing elderly populations (Chan 2005).


Importing Care Models

In an effort to meet the anticipated residential needs of its elderly population, Japan has investigated both Western and Asian industrialized nations’ approaches to long-term care in a variety of areas. Of particular interest have been models for long-term care (Walker 1996; Nakane and Farevaag 2004), models for assessing quality of care (Watanabe et al. 1999) and quality of life (Tsutomu et al. 1998; Liang et al. 1992), architectural models for institutional residences (Links International 2003), direct care staff licensing and training requirements (Yamada and Sekiya 2003), dissemination of dementia care training programs (Chee and Levkoff 2001), and models for development of long-term care policies (AARP Global Aging Program 2003).

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