With the number of elderly people continually rising in Japan, 23 ward offices and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government have beefed up efforts to tackle the issue of inadequate housing for the elderly. Meant for people aged 65 and older, the facilities are special nursing homes for elderly citizens who need daily care.
While Tokyo currently has 450 homes that can accommodate around 40,000 people, there is still a lot of elderly citizens waiting to be quartered at such homes. In 2010 alone, data from metro municipalities show that 43,060 senior citizens are on the waiting lists. And the number continues to rise. The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates that people aged 75 and older will reach 1.97 million in 2025. The government has already introduced different programs to support special homes for the elderly and will have spent 11.8 billion yen (approx. US$116.5 million) by the end of March in support of facilities’ construction alone. New housings constructed is subsidized by the government at 4.3 billion yen ($42.4 million) per resident, and at other times could even go higher to 50% if land is scarce in that area. Central Tokyo, on the other hand, has a different subsidy rate because of the expensive cost of land in that area, making it difficult to build homes within that location. Tokyo has even increased the number of people per room from the standard two to four to accommodate more.
Wards have also taken on projects to increase special nursing home facilities in their area. An old cooking center for school meals was converted into a nursing home by Nerima Ward. The governments of Tokyo and Nerima worked together to provide the subsidy for the project, and the ward is planning to put up another nursing home in 2017. Suginami Ward, on the other hand is already negotiating with the prefectural government to convert a vacant lot in Minami Izu, which used to be a resort facility for residents, into a nursing home. They hope that it will not only provide accommodations for people who need special care, but will also create jobs for the locals of the town to help revive the economy.
[via Japan Times]