Many countries are the world are asking: how does the ageing population impact us? For one, the ageing population is blasting doors open with market opportunities. The ageing population demands a better quality of life. Japan is one of the countries who has taken into account the significance of the ageing population and takes this matter into their own hands based on the following premises:
- The pace of ageing in Japan give room for creating more ways of taking care of elderly people. The government and the people can benefit from in terms of employment, job openings, and health infrastructure and institutions.
- The growing ageing population will foster an opportunity for growth. The government has taken the lead in investing on this and encourages the people to follow suit.
- The market opportunity which resulted from the ageing population actually helps the elderly not only for assistance on their disabilities but for them to live a life of quality.
- Innovation will be required to tackle several matters concerning the ageing population and thus, the need for it is in demand.
The economic impact of the ageing population
Due to the low birth rate and the inevitable ageing, the workforce in Japan will shrink. This will leave fewer workers to support the elderly.
The opportunities that arise from the ageing population
The global economy is very interested in strategies that address the ageing population seeing this as a potential for economic growth. The Japanese government was wise to have grabbed this opportunity and created a plan that will centre around a leading elderly society model. This aims to turn the ageing population into a source of economic growth investing on medical, nursing care, and other health-related services to improve the quality of elderly and capitalise on this industry.
Accessibility and affordability of healthcare services for the ageing population
In order to provide service while at the same time contain costs, various measures have been initiated by the government such as a co-payment system and a higher insurance premium.
In 2000, an insurance scheme was introduced by the government. This opened the door to private sectors to enter the nursing care market and at the same time allowing the government to contain costs. However, the industry suffered problems such as low service fees and poor working conditions. But despite that, it has remodelled Japan’s healthcare system.
Japan has outlined their vision to turn the ageing population into an opportunity for industrial growth. According to them, this will serve as an opportunity to develop new industries that promote life innovation. New jobs will come out of this. Further details on how to carry out this vision have yet to be set out though but it is highly likely that Japan will utilise information and communication technology to drive innovation and growth. The health power strategy also includes promotion of research and development in health-related fields.
The solution to the ageing population in Japan
Regardless of realising the potential, it is still important to clearly understand what the elderly want. One should not assume that caring for the elderly means developing products for severe disabilities. Many are well enough to lead lives with minor assistance.
Service robots were invented to assist the elderly get from one place to another. It was created to help the elderly be inspired to do more. Not long after, they decided to make it into something everyone can use and not let the elderly feel that they were different from others.
Based on country data, Information and communication technology has always been a strong suit for Japan and it is quite understandable why this could also be a solution here. ICT in Japan will enable monitoring and remote care services. Services such as these can lessen the social burden and will allow the elderly to be cared more in their own homes. Japanese companies are figuring out ways to better harness ICT skills in catering to the elderly.