【Report】Symposium : Changes in the Family and Care in the New Era (Co-hosted by Public Interest Incorporated Foundation The Institute for Research on Household Economics)
Date : 10th December,2016
Place : Shinsenzan-kan Japan Women’s University (Mejiro campus) 2-8-1 Mejirodai,Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo
In today’s “super-aged” society, issues revolving around care for family members have become more pronounced, particularly when it comes to long-term care. Just over 15 years have passed since long-term care insurance came into force, and service options have been improved in that time. On the other hand, the very nature of the family and values have become more diverse, and if we consider factors such as women’s advancement in the workplace and the increasing instability of employment, existing systems premised on the provision of care by family members – particularly by women – are becoming obsolete. What we need is a new style of care in response to these changes to the times and society.
To address such issues, this symposium was held with the aim of appraising the present status and problems of care by live-in and other family carers. These issues were approached from multiple perspectives on new formats of care, including care by male carers (musuko kaigo or care by the son of the recipient) and young persons (young carers), or “double care” combining family care and childcare. Another aim was to consider what sort of family support measures will be required, as well as the future of the super-aged society and family care, based on the realities of family care.
Part 1 Keynote Lecture
Professor Eiko Horikoshi of Japan Women’s University gave a Keynote Lecture on the theme of “Social support for long-term care providers (carers)”. From a position of engagement with both the “Carers Japan” foundation and the certified NPO corporation “Saitama NPO Center”, Professor Horikoshi discussed situations facing carers, along with specific examples of initiatives in support of long-term care. She also presented data to confirm changes in society over the last 50 years or so, explaining that this is an age when anyone can become a giver or a recipient of long-term care. Finally, Professor Horikoshi described the actual circumstances of carers and stressed the importance of carer support.
Next, four panelists presented reports from various angles on the state of care and issues surrounding it, as well as the type of support required for long-term care. The first report, “The burden of live-in family care” by Saeko Kikuzawa of Hosei University, dealt with the state of family care burdens. Based on data from nationwide surveys by the Japanese government and surveys by the Institute for Research on Household Economics, the report stressed the need to promote the socialization of long-term care in response to new family circumstances.
The second report, “What I observed as a young carer” by Soka City Councilor Daiki Ide, focused on his own long-term care experience from the age of 16. Mr Ide spoke of the reality that young carers remain “invisible” and of his feeling that he would be “left on his own”, as the lack of institutional support meant that he could not engage in school life or job-hunting activity as his friends did.
The third report, “How to deal with the growing phenomenon of double care?” by Reiko Satsuka of the NPO corporation Yokohama Community Development Research Center, was based on Ms Satsuka’s own experience of combining childcare with family care, as well as the state of support in the community. The report stressed the importance of understanding care cycles, making combined use of public and private services, and avoiding isolation as ways of coping with double care.
The fourth report, “Maleness and care: Male nursing and how it is viewed” by Ryo Hirayama of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, was based on the results of an interview survey with men who take care of their parents. Particularly interesting findings were that expectations of long-term carers and of the independence of care recipients differ according to gender; if this is not given sufficient consideration, it leads to gender reproduction.
Part 2 General Discussion
The General Discussion started with answers to questions from the floor. The panelists gave detailed answers, from their own respective viewpoints, to questions on issues such as the content of training for carer supporters, the Carer Support Bill, ways of increasing participants in carer cafés, and important perspectives when supporting long-term carers.
Finally, it was confirmed that support of long-term carers is premised on the basic principle that high-quality care is provided to the recipients; it is essential that carers themselves should let others know about problem situations, and there should be a discussion on the economic basis for providing care. In sum, this was a meaningful opportunity to consider care from a variety of angles.