September 25, 2014
Establishment of a consortium for the creation of services aimed at “gap seniors”
(frail elderly people with a gap between what they can do and what they want to do )
The Japan Research Institute, Limited (Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and CEO: Junsuke Fujii; JRI) will this October establish Gap Senior Consortium with the mission of creating services aimed at “gap seniors”, frail elderly people who are not in full health but not yet dependent on care.
The consortium will seek to establish a platform based on collaboration between private business enterprises and local governments, for the provision of a wide range of support services to “gap seniors”, who experience problems in daily life, or become unable to do the things they would like to do, owing to illness or deteriorating physical strength. The participants in the consortium are due to include private business enterprises providing lifestyle support services to the elderly, such as The Consumer Co-operative Kobe, Duskin Co., Ltd., House Foods Group Inc.., Internet Infinity Inc., Keikyu Corporation, Kumon Learning Therapy Co., Ltd., and SMS Co., Ltd., as well as social welfare corporations providing care and medical services. A number of local government bodies that are pursuing older person-friendly community development through the expansion of services are also due to participate.
With a view to commencing provision of services from fiscal 2015, the consortium will conduct research into the needs of gap seniors and ideas for services to meet those needs, in three or more locations around Japan (one location or more in each of the Kanto, Tokai and Kansai regions, etc.), and establish a platform preparatory organization by the end of March 2015.
Aiming to create services, etc. that will help to prevent gap seniors from becoming dependent on care
When elderly people begin to find that, owing to illness or deteriorating physical strength, there is a gap between what they would like to do and what they are able to do, they tend to become resigned to the fact, and to scale back their own expectations. If they continue to hold back in this way, the range of things they are able to do becomes further reduced, and many eventually become dependent on care.
The number of elderly people in this category, at high risk of becoming dependent on care (corresponding to “people qualifying for the Secondary Prevention Project” under the Public Long-term Care Insurance System, and elderly people certified as requiring support level 1 or 2), is increasing rapidly. By 2025 gap seniors are expected to account for around 40% of all elderly people in Japan, an estimated 10 million people.
These elderly people will be designated as “gap seniors”, and the consortium will seek to create services that help to improve physical and mental functioning, adjust living environments, and resolve the problems that gap seniors experience in everyday life, enabling them to maintain their role and position in the home, the community and society, and to continue enjoying a high quality of life.
Starting to use these services early on will help elderly people to remain independent and ambitious in what they would like to do, and to continue to be active in the community and in society, thus delaying the onset of dependence on care. Even if an elderly person’s condition deteriorates, continuing to make use of appropriate services, as their condition requires, can help them to continue to live life their own way, and to enjoy a high quality of life. In this way, if the number of elderly people who are able to avoid becoming dependent on care (or to improve and maintain their quality of life in the event that they do become dependent on care) increases, it will be possible to achieve greater efficiency in the supply of care in the future.
Building a framework for the coordination of service provision based on collaboration between private business enterprises and local governments
Until now, support for gap seniors has mainly taken the form of services provided under the Public Long-term Care Insurance System. However, owing in part to financial constraints, there are limits to the ability of support provided under the Public Long-term Care Insurance System alone to meet all of the diverse needs of the rapidly increasing number of gap seniors, and there is a need for expansion of services provided by private business enterprises, rather than under the Public Long-term Care Insurance System.
However, although demand is expected to see a very large increase, little progress has been made in the expansion of services provided by private business enterprises. One important reason is that the physical and mental conditions and the lifestyles of gap seniors are so diverse that individual providers are unable to fully grasp their needs. Another issue is that, if the condition of gap seniors deteriorates, their frequency of contact with other people, access to the media and visits to stores declines, and it becomes more difficult to inform them of services.
The consortium will therefore create a coordination framework, within which not only community general support centers and care service providers, but also lifestyle service providers, retailers, railroad operators, etc., will serve as contact points for gap seniors, and provide links to a wide variety of services for gap seniors. Specifically, platforms based on collaboration between local governments and private business enterprises will be established in each community, information on needs and service usage will be shared, needs will be analyzed, services will be developed, provided and evaluated, and information will be provided to gap seniors.
On the basis of these platforms, local governments will use healthcare professionals and co-medical staff to support core aspects of the lives of gap seniors in the community in general, while private business enterprises will provide finely tuned services, tailored to the lifestyles of individual gap seniors and the things they would like to do, enhancing the quality of life of gap seniors, and making it easier to stimulate their own desire to live their lives to the full and avoid becoming dependent on care.
Outline of the Gap Senior Consortium’s activities
Private enterprises and local government bodies participating in the Gap Senior Consortium will conduct research into the needs of gap seniors and ideas for services to meet those needs, and will establish a platform preparatory organization.
Content of activities
To provide needs-driven services for gap seniors through public-private collaboration, private enterprises that provide services designed to support the lifestyles of elderly people will work with three or more communities around Japan (one or more in each of the Kanto, Tokai and Kansai regions, etc.), and will aim to create services for gap seniors while continuing to expand the number of participating members. The specific content of the consortium’s activities will be as follows:
Gathering knowledge and information relating to the needs of gap seniors and ideas for services to meet those needs
- Conducting research into the conditions and needs of gap seniors
- Developing services designed for gap seniors
Creating business models based on public-private collaboration and formulating policy proposals
- Creating business schemes in each community
- Identifying systemic issues to be resolved if business models are to function, and formulating policy proposals
Period of activity
October 2014 to March 2015
Participants in the consortium will include social welfare corporations and local government bodies, together with private business enterprises from a range of industries and categories, such as the Consumer Co-operative Kobe, Duskin Co., Ltd., House Foods Group Inc., Internet Infinity Inc., Keikyu Corporation, Kumon Learning Therapy Co., Ltd., and SMS Co., Ltd., which will all contribute to the project in their own areas of expertise.