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高齢人口25% 独り暮らし対策は待ったなし

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:13 pm, April 18, 2014
Measures urgently needed to cope with, reduce number of elderly living alone
高齢人口25% 独り暮らし対策は待ったなし

As the people born during the postwar baby boom have begun entering the later stages of their lives, one out of every four people in Japan is now aged 65 or older.
 団塊の世代が高齢期を迎え、日本の総人口の4人に1人が65歳以上になった。

Working out measures to address the challenges posed by the nation’s rapid aging—a situation without parallel in the rest of the world—is an unmistakably urgent matter.
世界に類を見ないスピードで進む高齢化への対策が急務である。

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry released population estimates as of Oct. 1, 2013, in which people aged 65 and over comprised more than 25 percent of the population for the first time. Nearly 31.9 million had celebrated their 65th birthday.
 総務省が2013年10月1日時点の人口推計を公表した。65歳以上の人口が初めて全体の25%を超え、3190万人に達した。

Japan’s population has contracted for a third straight year, and the working-age population—people aged from 15 to 64—has fallen below 80 million for the first time in 32 years.
 総人口は3年連続で減少し、15~64歳の生産年齢人口は32年ぶりに8000万人を下回った。

The aging of society brings with it ballooning social security costs, including expenditures for medical and nursing care. As a result, the burden of maintaining the social security system has grown even heavier on a working generation that is shrinking in an alarming fashion.
 高齢化に伴い、医療や介護などの社会保障費は膨張している。減少する「働く世代」には、社会保障制度を維持するための負担が重くのしかかる。

Japan’s social security system, as it exists today, is hardly sustainable and threatens to undermine Japan’s social and economic vigor. The situation is grave indeed.
 このままでは、制度を持続できず、経済・社会の活力も損なわれる。深刻な事態である。

In 2025, as the baby-boom generation passes the age of 75, the number of people needing medical and nursing care will undoubtedly rise even higher.
 団塊の世代が75歳以上となる25年には、医療や介護を必要とする人がさらに増えるだろう。

But as the number of older people continues to swell, there are limits to the number of elderly that can be cared for at facilities for the aged and hospitals. Expenditures covered by the nursing care and health insurance systems are likely to increase, leading to a further rise in benefit payments.
 増加する高齢者を施設や病院で受け入れることには限界がある。介護・医療保険から支払われる費用が高くなりがちで、給付費の一層の膨張を招く。

The situation calls for arrangements for integrated nursing care and medical services to be provided in the home, allowing the elderly to live at home for as long as reasonably practical. The government must also back construction of new housing to accommodate older people, including those with lower incomes.
 可能な限り自宅で暮らせるよう、訪問介護や在宅診療を一体的に提供する体制作りが必要だ。低所得でも入居できる高齢者向け住宅の整備も求められよう。

Build mutual aid framework

It is important that Japan also define a strategy for addressing the increasing numbers of older people living alone. According to projections by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the number of such elderly people, which stood at 4.98 million in 2010, will rise to 7.62 million in 2035, an increase of about 50 percent.
 独り暮らしの高齢者対策も待ったなしだ。国立社会保障・人口問題研究所の推計では、10年の498万人が35年には1・5倍の762万人にまで増える。

Older people who receive no help from family are likely to face great difficulty living on their own if and when they encounter even minor physical or mental issues. Symptoms of dementia and other disorders also tend to be overlooked. Building neighborhood frameworks of mutual support to take the place of absent families is indispensable in coping with this situation.
 家族の手助けがない高齢者は、心身が少し不調でも自立生活が困難になる。認知症などの症状も見過ごされやすい。家族に代わり、地域で支え合う互助の仕組みを育てることが欠かせない。

Many noteworthy programs to keep an eye on elderly residents and provide them with places to interact with other people have been launched by nonprofit organizations and volunteers. We should encourage the further spread of such works.
 各地でNPOやボランティアによる見守り活動や、交流サロンといった高齢者の居場所作りが始まっている。こうした取り組みを広げていきたい。

The role played by local governments is crucial as well. One program by the government of Minato Ward, Tokyo, makes door-to-door visits to the homes of single elderly residents to offer appropriate administrative services, in an effort to better understand their living conditions. This program could be a useful model for other local governments.
 自治体の役割も重要だ。戸別訪問で独り暮らし高齢者の生活状況を把握し、適切なサービスにつなぐ東京都港区の取り組みなどは、他の自治体の参考となる。

We hope to see older people who are in good health and spirits take on volunteer and other activities for the benefit of their communities. Such contributions will add meaning to their lives, and at the same time reduce the likelihood that they will need nursing care services, thereby helping rein in social welfare expenditures for the nation as a whole.
 元気な高齢者にはボランティアなどとして地域で活躍してもらいたい。それが自身の生きがいや介護予防になり、社会保障費の抑制につながるだろう。

There is a close link between the number of older people living alone and the increasing number of unmarried people. Many people within the growing ranks of low-wage nonregular employees are giving up on getting married.
 独り暮らし高齢者の増加は、未婚率の上昇と密接な関係にある。低賃金の非正規労働者の増加で、結婚をあきらめる人が多い。

This is why employment patterns are an important part of preventing further growth in the number of older people living alone—working conditions for nonregular workers should be improved and companies must be urged to expedite promotion of such workers to regular-employee status.
 将来の独り暮らし高齢者を増やさないためにも、非正規労働者の処遇改善や正社員への転換を促進しなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 18, 2014)
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by kiyoshimat | 2014-04-21 08:29 | 英字新聞

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