Healthy Ageing & Care Network sponsors Global Forum on Sustainable Ageing
Lessons ageing societies around the world might learn from Japan, but also the very pressing challenges faced within Japan as it copes with its own ageing population.
On January 28th, 2022, the Healthy Ageing and Care Network sponsored the Abe Global Forum, organised by the Social Science Research Council of the US, and co-sponsored by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and the Reischauer Institute of Japan Studies.
The event featured an interdisciplinary panel of four scholars, which this year included Dr Jason Danely, Chair of the Healthy Ageing and Care Network. The title of the event was 'Polishing Japan's Silver: Ageing Sustainably in the 21st Century'; and it highlighted both the lessons ageing societies around the world might learn from Japan, but also the very pressing challenges faced within Japan as it copes with its own ageing population.
Dr Danely spoke about his own research with people caring for elderly family members in Japan and England, which suggests that with deepening shortages of paid care workers, countries like Japan will have no choice but to integrate family carers more deliberately in the social care system. This means not only providing them education, training and resources, but building stronger relationships between paid and unpaid care sectors.
University of Tokyo Assistant Professor Atsushi Miyawaki followed this with epidemiological research showing the negative health effects of caregiving in Japan,
particularly among low-income households.
The coronavirus pandemic appears to have heightened the psychological and physical costs. Angela Chin, Associate Professor of History at Pomona College, discussed the role that robots, including both AI enabled exoskeleton devices to relieve physical burden as well as social-emotional robots.
The last speaker was Joseph Coleman, who described the ways older people work in Japan, the jobs they do and the ways this is valued. About one hundred attendees from around the world joined the conversation about global ageing societies.