Do you know what Dementia is? Dementia is a serious problem in the world. Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities (definition by the “World Health Organization”).
What Happens in a Japanese Aging Society
Currently, Japan has lots of problems caused by an aging society. Dementia is one of the big problems in the aging society. Japanese aging society is still growing. The government report said “In 2060, 40% of Japanese population is elderly people. However, Japanese population will be decrease to only 8,764 million people in 2060.” That is a serious problem in Japanese society.
Figure 1: Estimated Population of Dementia aged 65 and older
Source: Annual Report on Aging Society 2017, Japan Cabinet Office
As shown in Figure 1, Japanese people who live with Dementia will be expanding rapidly. In addition, recently the number of hearing loss is increasing as well. Hearing loss is an effect of Dementia. People who have hearing loss, might have Dementia too, but most Japanese people are hesitant to get a hearing aid. That’s why Dementia in people is increasing. However, if many people use hearing aids, they can protect themselves from Dementia. In 2060, 1,154 million people will live with Dementia. This number shows it is very serious for Japanese society and this problem is important for not only people with Dementia, but also for younger generations because they will have to take care of people with Dementia.
What Do You Think about Dementia?
Three university students were asked: “What do you think about Dementia?”. First, Shiho Obara said “Dementia is a serious problem because it might effect everyone who are not only elderly. I’m afraid if I live with Dementia. Also, my generation has to support the people with Dementia and it is a heavy burden for my generation.” Second, Nanae Akai who works at a gym for her part-time job said that “Dementia causes discrimination. For example, my gym has a rule where people with Dementia are not allowed to have membership. I think it is unfair to live in the Japanese society like this.” The third person, Mitsuki Sekiguchi, said “Dementia is not only happen to elderly people but also young people like my age. It is serious and I think it is tough to support Dementia person because they are doing unpredictable things like going outside in the middle of the night.” Those three opinions say the same thing, saying that Dementia is a serious problem for all generations and it affects all ages.
What Support does the Japanese Government Provide?
The Japanese government makes support guidelines such as financial support as well as giving handouts for people with Dementia and their family members. The tittle of the handout is “what should we do for Dementia person”. If a family with Dementia person, they want to get support from the government such as day-service, taking bath have to get a certificate from the doctor because it has strict rules. However, if a Dementia person live alone, they can’t go to hospital on their own and they can’t get government supports because they don’t think they have Dementia. It is a little bit scary because if people live alone, they can’t recognize they have Dementia. Also, Japanese single-household rate is growing now. If it will be continue to growing, many single elderly people might to be Dementia but they cannot to get any support.
What Should We Do ?
There are three things you should do. First, you should try to get knowledge about Dementia. If you have knowledge of Dementia, you can support someone with Dementia regardless of the relationship between you and that person. If you don’t know about Dementia, you can’t help. Second, all generations have to learn how to take care of people with Dementia because if you are doing something wrong, they might angry and they might become more hysteric. Thirdly, all generations have to think about if you live with Dementia. Do not to hesitate to get help if you realize you might be have Dementia. People who have Dementia have less confidence. However, if you can say “please help me”, you will be able to spend a great life because people can supports you and help to make a great memories. Get knowledge, make a great life are most important things for all generation.