Elder care in Japan.Perspectives. 2004 Spring; 28(1):17-24.P
The social and health care issues surrounding the elderly in Japan have been described focussing on the long-term care issues and the LTCI System. Because the Japanese have traditionally held a strong sense of family, they have believed that the family should look after a family member. The burden of caregiving had become so serious to many families that the situation has been called "caregiving hell". In those situations, the LTCI System seems to be succeeding in releasing the families from the unbearable burden of caregiving. However, there are many problems associated with the LTCI System. The system adopted the social insurance system because of its clearly defined relationships between the provision of services and the insured persons' share of the costs of services. Keeping with the system's principle, the insured persons' rights must be respected and the system must continually be improved so that they could choose the necessary and the most appropriate services to meet their needs. Japan has been experiencing the aging of its society at an unprecedented rate, which no other nation in the world has experienced. The world is watching Japan with interest to see how it responds to the grave issues of an aged society. The necessary systems and services should not be provided because the funding is available. Rather, the funding should be arranged so that the necessary systems and services can be provided. It is said that some countries intend to study the merit of Japan's strong sense of family ties and to utilize the strength of family ties to enhance their elder care. Considering such an idea it is hoped that, with collective efforts, the health care and the social welfare services for the elderly in Japan will continue to improve in the future.