International Comparative Study on Seniors’ Living and Perspectives vol.1

International Comparative Study on Seniors’ Living and Perspectives

 Japanese government (Cabinet Office) announced the results of “The international study on living and consciousness of senior citizens 2005″ in March, 2007.
Prime Minister’s Office (currently Cabinet Office) conducted the first wave of this study in Japan and 4 other countries in 1980 to understand the living conditions of the elderly (those aged 60 and over). Since then, this study has been conducted every 5 years, and the 2005 study was the 6th wave.

In the beginning of this study, older people were called “Rojin”, who were aged 60 years old and over. Now they are called “Koureisha”,who are aged 65 years old and over. While this study used to be called “study with old people” or “study with the elderly,” we should now call it “study with seniors.” Currently, Japanese Cabinet Office (Department of Policy on Aging Society with a Declining Birthrate) conducts this study. Considering the current social conditions, we should call them “seniors who are aged 60 and over.”

“The international study on living and consciousness of senior citizens, 6th Wave” Overview
“AGING”(Cited in Summer, 2007)

(1)Objectives
This study is conducted to understand and analyze (international and time comparisons) the roles, activities, and perspectives of seniors in Japan and 4 other countries. The results are expected to help developing measures to the aging society. The study is conducted every 5 years (1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, and 2000).
The study in 2005 is the 6th wave, and its primary purpose is to understand the seniors’ perspectives on daily living in Japan and other countries.

(2)Subjects
People aged 60 and over in Japan, U.S.A., South Korea, Germany, and France

(3)Study contents and methodology
Contents
Family situations
Health and welfare
Financial living
Work and employment
Housing and living environment
Social relationships and Ikigai
Worries, interests, and satisfaction

Study period
Japan: November and December, 2005.
U.S.A.., South Korea, Germany and France: December 2005 to February 2006.

Sampling
Research staff conducted personal interviews with the randomly selected subjects.

Result index

  1. Who mainly does the household work?

  2. Frequency of contact with children who live away
  3. Relationship with children and grandchildren
  4. Emotional supporter
  5. Levels of needs for help in daily living
  6. Medical service utilization
  7. Financial difficulties in daily living
  8. Financial preparation for the retirement
  9. Appropriate retirement age
  10. Housing satisfaction
  11. Satisfaction with local environment
  12. Communication with neighbors
  13. Utilization of information and communication technology (ICT)
  14. Worries and stress
  15. When seniors feel “Ikigai”
  16. Overall life satisfaction
  17. Who should be prioritized, younger or older generation?

International Comparative Study on Seniors’ Living and Perspectives vol.2

Results

1 Who mainly does the household work?

They were mostly females in all the countries.
The proportion of males has been growing in Japan and South Korea since the 5th wave.

When asked who mainly does the household work, female respondents in all the countries reported “Myself(Japan, 77.9%; U.S.A., 74.7%; South Korea, 78.1%; Germany, 74.9%; France, 74.1%).” Among male respondents, the most frequent answer was “Spouse or partner (Japan, 74.6%, U.S.A., 51.2%; South Korea, 76.5%, Germany, 61.3%; France, 49.5%).” These results show that women have the primary role in household work among seniors. Japan and South Korea showed particularly higher proportions of males responding that their partners play the primary role in household work (Figure 1). However, even in Japan and South Korea, the proportion of males responding they play the primary role has increased since the last wave (Japan, 7.9% to 11.4%; South Korea, 8.8% to 13.3%).


Figure 1: Primary household worker in the family

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International Comparative Study on Seniors’ Living and Perspectives vol.3

Results

2 Frequency of contact with children who live away

2 Frequency of contact with children who live away
The frequency was lower in Japan compared with the other 4 countries.

About the frequency of contact (e.g., meeting personally and talking on the phone) with children who live away, the respondents in all the countries but Japan tended to say “Almost everyday” or “Once a week or more” (Japan, 46.8%; U.S.A., 80.8%; South Korea, 66.9%; Germany, 58.6%; France, 67.2%). Japanese respondents were more likely to say “Once a week or more” or “Once or twice a month.”
(Figure 2,Table 1)


Figure 2: Frequency of contact with children who live away


Note: The question until the 4th wave was “How often do you see your children?”
Table 1: Frequency of contact with children who live away (those who have 1 or more children living away) (%)

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