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高齢者所在不明 家族と地域で「長寿」見守ろう

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 6, 2010)
We must keep an eye on our elderly citizens
高齢者所在不明 家族と地域で「長寿」見守ろう(8月5日付・読売社説)

Many municipal governments have reported that they do not know the whereabouts of some centenarians who are registered as residents in their areas.
 100歳以上の高齢者が所在不明になっているとの報告が、全国の自治体から相次いでいる。

Although they are recorded as "alive" on their family registers, neither the local governments nor their families have been able to confirm this.
 戸籍上は生きているのに、自治体も家族も本人の「生」を確認できない。

We cannot help but be dismayed that this situation exists in a society that boasts of the longevity of its people.
これが世界に誇る日本の長寿社会の実態だとすれば、言いようのない寒々しさを覚える。

Municipal governments began checking into the whereabouts of local centenarians after the mummified remains of a man who was registered as being 111 years old were found in Adachi Ward, Tokyo.
 東京都足立区で、111歳とされていた男性がミイラ化した遺体で見つかった事件を機に、各自治体が調査を始めた。

Then a woman believed to be 113 years old, which would make her Tokyo's oldest person, was reported missing. She is registered as living in Suginami Ward, Tokyo.
 113歳といわれた都内最高齢女性が、杉並区の住民登録先に住んでおらず、行方不明になっていることがわかった。

In Nagoya, the supposed residence of a 106-year-old man was found to have been turned into a parking lot. His family did not know where he was.
名古屋市では、106歳の男性の住民登録先が駐車場になっており、家族に聞いても所在はわからなかった。

According to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun, nearly 50 centenarians are missing as of Wednesday.
 同様に所在不明であることが判明した100歳以上の高齢者は、読売新聞の調べで、4日までに50人近くにのぼっている。

The common thread in these cases is that neither local government officials in charge of elderly welfare nor welfare commissioners made direct contact with centenarians before the current investigations began.
 いくつかのケースに共通するのは、今回の調査以前に、自治体職員や民生委員が高齢者本人に直接、接触していないことだ。

Japan has about 40,000 centenarians, a 3.5-fold increase over the past 10 years.
 100歳以上の高齢者は、全国に約4万人いる。この10年間で一気に3・5倍に増えた。

Officials must meet elderly

The methods of confirming the whereabouts of elderly people or if they are actually alive or not differ among local governments. In many cases, they check the use of services provided through the nursing care or health care insurance programs, without bothering to visit places of residence and meeting with elderly people individually.
 高齢者の所在や安否を確認する方法は自治体によって異なるが、多くの場合、個別の面会などはせず、介護保険や医療保険の使用状況などから判断している。

Although municipal governments may suffer from a shortage of manpower and funds, it is crucial that officials meet these people to see how they are doing if they have not used health care facilities for some time.
 人手や予算の制約もあろうが、長期間、医療施設の利用がないような場合、実際に高齢者と面会して安否確認することが必要だ。

Some local governments admit having difficulty in pursuing their investigations after families tell officials that their elderly relatives do not want to meet them or that they have moved into facilities for the aged in other prefectures.
 ただ、居住地などで面会を求めても、家族から「会いたくないと言っている」「他県の施設に入った」などと言われると、それ以上の調査は難しくなるという。

Local governments are probably afraid of being accused of infringing on the privacy of the families if officials insist on meeting elderly people or otherwise persist in their investigations. But we wonder whether they are overreacting to provisions of the Personal Information Protection Law.
 強く面会を求めたり、追跡調査したりすることで、プライバシー侵害を指摘されるのが怖いのだろうが、個人情報保護法を意識した過剰反応ではないか。

Ties weakening

When it comes to the disbursement of public funds, such as for pensions and congratulatory payments to mark elderly residents' longevity, local government officials are obliged to confirm the whereabouts of the recipients and whether they are alive. Revisions of relevant laws should be considered in this respect, if necessary.
 年金や祝い金など公金支出が絡む場合、出来る限りの調査をすることは自治体職員の責務だ。必要なら法律や制度の改正も検討すべきだろう。

What is worrisome is the weakening of elderly people's ties to their relatives and local communities in this fast-aging society.
 気がかりなのは、超高齢化社会の裏側にある地縁血縁の弱体化だ。

It has become apparent through the latest investigation that with the trend toward the nuclear family there are cases in which both the parents and children have aged, and fail to meet or keep in contact with each other.
核家族化とともに、親も子も高齢になって互いに会わない、連絡もしない。そんな事例が今回の調査でも明らかになっている。

The functions of local communities, in which residents keep an eye on elderly people through daily contact as neighbors, seem to be on the decline.
 近所付き合いの中で高齢者の安否を確認し合う地域の機能も、すっかり衰えてしまったのか。

We must try to recover the strength of our society, whereby families and communities should warmly watch over our "long lives."
 家族や地域が「長寿」を温かく見守る社会を取り戻すために、知恵を出し合いたい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 5, 2010)
(2010年8月5日01時23分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-08-06 05:52 | 英字新聞

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