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Chapter 1 Status of Population Aging
  2. Status of Older Persons

Older Persons and their Family

- The number of households with the elderly aged 65 or older is 16.37 million, 35.8% of the total households (45.66 million). Its breakdown is: 3.18 million single member households (19.4%), 4.55 million husband and wife households (27.8%), 2.56 million parents and unmarried child (15.7%), 4.18 million three generation households (25.5%). This shows while three generation households have decreased, the ratio of households living alone and living with spouse only has greatly increased

- The ratio of the elderly living with children tends to decline, 48.4% in 2001. (Figure 1-2-5)

Figure 1-2-5. Trends in the Percentage Distribution of Households by Family Type Containing Least One Older Person

- The ratio of older persons to the total population was 4.3% for male and 11.2% for female in 1980, while strikingly increased in 2000, male up to 8.0% and female up to 17.9%. It is estimated the percentage of older persons living alone, above all male, will tremendously rise. (Figure 1-2-3)

Figure 1-2-3. Trends of Older Persons Living Alone

Economic Status of Older Persons

- Regarding older persons' life consciousness, in the households with the elderly (those composed of the elderly 65+ only, the elderly 65+ and unmarried child under 18) the ratio thinking their present life level 'average' is higher than that of the total households, while the ratio of 'tight' including both 'very tight' and 'somewhat tight' is low. (Figure 1-2-11)

Figure 1-2-11. Awareness about Living Conditions in Elderly Households

- The average annual income of elderly households in 2000 was 3 million 195 thousand yen, merely a half of the average of the total households (6 million 169 thousand yen). Concerning the amount per family member, since the average number of family members is less in the elderly households, it becomes 2 million 36 thousand yen, with no large gap between the average amount of the total households (2 million 121 thousand yen) and the elderly households. (Table 1-2-13)

Table 1-2-13. Incomes of Elderly Households

- The average personal income of males 65 or over is 3 million 36 thousand yen, whereas that of females is 1 million 124 thousand yen, which shows the average female income is just a little over one third of the male income. The ratio of the female elderly 65+ with no income (16.5%) is much higher than that of the male (4.4%). (Figure 1-2-15)

Figure 1-2-15. Elderly Income Standard by Income Category, 2000

- Regarding present savings for older age, the ratio of 'enough' including 'minimum' is 34.1%. On the other hand, the percentage of those thinking 'short,' the total of 'somewhat short' and 'quite short' is over a half, 57.1%; the lower their age is, the higher the ratio becomes. (Figure 1-2-21)

Figure 1-2-21. Older Persons' Savings for Old Age

Elderly Working

- The ratio of working men aged 55-59 is 89.9%, 66.5% in the aged 60-64, and 51.6% in the aged 65-69. Among workless men aged 60-64 (33.5%) more than half of them hope to work, and so do nearly 40% of those aged 65-69 (48.4%).

- The ratio of working female aged 60-64 is 41.5%, and 28.7% in the women aged 65-69. Over 30% of workless women aged 60-64 (58.8%) and over 20% of those aged 65-69 (71.3%) wish to work. (Figure 1-2-25)

Figure 1-2-25. Working and Workless Status of Older Persons

Health and Welfare for Older Persons

- Regarding health condition of older persons, the ratio of the elderly aged 65 or older (Except for those hospitalized) with some subjective symptom due to illness or injury was 502.7 per 1000 in 2001. The ratio of the elderly aged 65 or older with some effect on their daily life (Those who has trouble in transfer, outings, work, house chores, study, exercise, sports, etc. because of health problems, except for those hospitalized) is 235.0 per 1000 elderly population. (Figure 1-2-28)

Figure 1-2-28. Ratios of Older Persons 65+ with Complaints and with Effect in Daily Life

- Among the issues they are paying attention to maintain health, the highest is 'sufficient rest and sleep' (60.4%), the second is 'keep regular hours' (53.0%), followed by 'nutritious and balanced meals' (49.5%). (Figure 1-2-31)

Figure 1-2-31. Issues Kept in Mind for Health Improvement

- The number of people aged 65 or older certified as requiring care or assistance is 2 million 877 thousand at the end of FY2001. Older persons living in 'Welfare facilities for the elderly,' 'Health care facilities for the elderly,' 'Medical facilities for the elderly' are 306 thousand, 220 thousand, 105 thousand respectively (13.4, 9.6, 4.6 per 1,000 persons aged 65 or older). (Table 1-2-36)

Table 1-2-36. Status of Older Persons Requiring Care (Number of certified persons requiring long-term care or support)

Social Participation of Older Persons

- As to exchanges with the neighbors, 25.5% of older persons rarely exchange with neighbors, while 21.0% associate with them almost everyday. Especially 31.5% (one out of 3) of males rarely associate with neighbors. (Figure 1-2-46)

Figure 1-2-46. Exchanges with Neighbors

Housing Arrangement of Older Persons

- Among elderly houses, 70.8% of single elderly households and 76.6% of elderly households living with a spouse only are satisfying the Leading Housing Standard (a guideline to lead enhancing housing stock quality in the Eighth House-building Five-year Plan). In the households living in a rental house among them, merely 41.1% of single elderly household and 34.0% of elderly households living with spouse are above the standard level.

- Regarding requests on remodeling house structure and equipments for older persons, nearly half requests some remodeling, while only 54.1% requests 'no remodeling in particular.' For instance, 'I'd like to have a hand rail fixed,' 20.9%, 'I'd like barrier-free floors,' 19.6%, 'I'd like a bath tub easier to step in,' 11.0%, 'I'd like a bathroom installed heating,' 8.6%, 'I'd like a barrier-free approach from the entrance to the road,' 8.4%, etc. (Table 1-2-54)

Table 1-2-54. Status of Targets Housing Standards in Elderly Households

Living Environment of Older Persons

- Regarding how often older persons go out, 'almost everyday' is the top (41.7%), followed by '2 or 3 times a week' (25.2%), and 4 or 5 times a week (17.2%). The ratio of 'almost every day' is higher among males than females, while that of 'rarely' is high in females. By age group, 'almost every day' becomes lower and 'rarely' is higher in the older group. (Figure 1-2-59)

Figure 1-2-59. How frequently do older persons go out?

- The number of older persons aged 65 or older who died in traffic accidents amounts to 3,144, that is, 37.8% of the total death by traffic accidents. The majority of death due to traffic accidents had been youth aged from 16 to 24 until 1992, but the number of the elderly exceeded that of the youth in 1993. After that, the ratio of the elderly has been increasing, whereas that of the youth has been decreasing. (Figure 1-2-63)

Figure 1-2-63. Trends in Traffic Accidents Death by Age Group

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