Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
The rapidly accelerating trend of population aging is redefining the state of eldercare globally, as every country is currently or will soon face a gap in the excess demand for care versus the scarce supply of caregivers, both formal and informal. Specifically, there is a decrease in the number of elders seeking care through a family member as well as less caregivers in institutions to provide care for elders. Japan is at the vanguard of this caregiving gap, and thus provides key lessons, particularly from two innovative models of eldercare: Ibasho, a grass-roots, non-profit organization, and Japan's Long-Term Care Insurance System. These models are exemplary in adapting to the demographic pattern of population aging, as they both center an elder’s care around the community. This thesis explores what values are foundational in creating ethical care systems for this increasing number of elders worldwide by analyzing these two social care models. The Ibasho organization exemplifies the values of reciprocity and integration, as elders are given opportunities to produce social and economic capital as well as spend time with community members of all ages. Likewise, Japan’s Long-Term Care Insurance system demonstrates how elders can maintain independence through policy that is elder-focused and economical. I advocate for the reciprocity, integration, and independence of elders as we face these new demographic changes, and stress the universality of these values as we continue to create care systems across the world.
Steil, Caroline M., "A Look Towards the Future of Eldercare: Lessons Learned from Social Care Models in Japan" (2022). Honors Theses. 2503.
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