Healthy Aging and Concerns Among Japanese Elderly People

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:45 PM
Room: Booth 40
Distributed Paper
Yoko TSUCHYA , School of Human Science, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitame Pref., Japan
Kazuhiko MACHIDA , Faculty of Human Science, Tokorozawa, Japan
Background: Japan is facing an unprecedented aging society. In 2011, 23.3% of total population in Japan was elderly people 65 years old and older. One third of the population in Japan will be at least 65 years old in 2035. Healthy aging is a crucial key for public health and society in Japan. However, under budget limitation of social security, policies and frequent policy changes have posed a great uncertainty and concerns on that elderly population. Given these circumstances, we conducted questionnaire surveys in 2010 to examine concerns in this age group. Method: In 2010, we sent questionnaires to university graduates 65 years old and older randomly selected from lists of graduates from 11 universities. The questionnaires were open-ended and asked them to write any concerns that they had about health care, health policy, health systems and their future. Results: We received 331 (Age 73.18±4.43) responses. Among those who responded, 84.9% (281 respondents) said that they had concerns. We conducted text analysis (PASW Text Analytics for Surveys 3.0.1) and extracted keywords from their Reponses. The keywords that were extracted frequently were; Doctor, Hospitals, Health care, Japanese Government Policies, Expensive , Health care cost, Medical expenditure , Cost of medical care, Doctor scarcity, Prevention, Health insurance system for those 65 years and older, Quality of care, Long term care and others. Discussion; In this study, many elderly people in Japan have concerned about health care expenditure, health care systems and health policies. This may be caused by frequent health policy changes and uncertainties due to frequent administration changes such as unclearness of a raise of out of pocket payment rate from 10% to 20% for elderly people under budget constraint in Japan. Correct policy-making and determination are necessary for healthy aging by removing concerns from this vulnerable population in Japan.