Mayu Hanaue writes:

Thanks to the development of medicine, life expectancy is rising in the developed countries especially in Japan. Because this happened at such a high speed, we can't catch up to deal with it. There are many problems we must solve quickly. For instance, the care for those who need full time care for the daily lives. As the life gets longer, the more elderly are affected by Alzheimer's disease. And due to the developed medicine, there are increasing numbers of the elderly who get over stroke but lose body movement and have to stay in bed for the rest of their lives. We must do something to help those people to get good treatment in a good environment both physically and psychologically. We also have to keep our eyes on the mental health of the elderly. After retiring, many people have nothing to be absorbed in and feel cut off from the family or society. So, mental health care is necessary, too.

What can we do then? The former two cases need full-time care and the best way is for the elderly to be taken care of by their family at home. But since many are living separately from their children and increasing numbers of women have to work, it is getting difficult today. And full time care givers are too much of a financial burden on families. So I think the best way for both of them is to build more facilities with enough service so that the users can feel relaxed as if they are at home. To take enough care, we need more nurses and helpers. We must pay attention to the education of those people. Bringing up more nurses and helpers enables the care at home, which most of the elderly expect. Nowadays, scientists are studying to make the mechanism of the Alzheimer's disease clear. It must be done as soon as possible, because if we find out what causes Alzheimer's, we will be able to prevent it or do something earlier. To solve the mental problem, we should give the elderly the opportunity to do something with their skill or ability, like giving them a second chance to work. Through this, they will get a grip on their lives and keep a connection to their family and society. All those things can't be done by one person. The most important thing for us is to think of these problems as ours, not somebody else's. Working on the government to provide economic help is also important. I have only discussed problems related directly to the developed world, but the same problems will happen in the developing world in the near future. And I think it will be more serious, due to the lack of money and other resources in the developing world. By then, we will have to think of the new ideas.

What is the difference between the developed countries and the developing countries? As I've written before, in the former countries, including Japan, the elderly usually don't live with their children. On the other hand, in developing countries, many generations live together as one big family. So a problem like 'Who will look after the elderly' won't occur. But talking of Alzheimer's disease, we have to help the developing world by sending doctors or medicine for the treatment. But more than anything, I think the largest thing we can do is to advise them about what we know through our research and experience, so that the same problems will not happen there.

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