Elderly care between the United States and Japan The difference between Japan and the United States and the care of the elderly is like night and day. The customs between the two cultures are separated by the differences in the respect for the elderly, what is considered acceptable care and how care is provided. These are just the surface of the cultural differences and the basics of elder care should be considered. This is only for care of a fairly healthy person that has just gotten older and needs help in day to day activities but not completely helpless, or hindered by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In Japan the elderly are considered a person of knowledge and is to be respected for that knowledge and experience. The elders are the center of the family group because of the life they have led has brought the family to where they are in life today. Usually the In-laws are brought into the family home when they can no longer care for themselves or considered to be infirmed due to illness or disease. The care given is usually done by the women in the house hold but the men, usually the oldest son, has become the primary care giver in recent years.
SO Long, & PB Harris. (2000). This has been the the family unit for generations and continues to be to this very day. In the United states the Elderly or infirmed are looked upon as an Individual that has already lived a full life and seem to be pitied for living to be so old. They are not respected in the way the Japanese family do. They usually have to turn to retirement homes or what is called extended care facilities. This does create quite the financial burden and will usually drain any kind of savings they have.
The facilities are not like a home with all the busy plans and schedules for the children or family events. The care given in these facilities are usually less than what most people, at that age, try to live at but it is all they can afford. In Japan the care that is provided in the home can cover a lot from bathing to cooking to just general housekeeping and laundry. If the Elderly need something more like treatments, medical procedures, or long term hospital tays the family will do everything that is feasible to help with this, either financially or physically making things work to make the elder comfortable. In the United States if the elder has moved in it would be with their own son not the individuals in-laws if at all possible. The level of care would only be determined by the amount of time the son has to give to the elder. The respect would start to wane after a time and roles would be reversed, father is no-longer the head of house and the son is, and tensions would rise.
Eventually the elder would be placed in a nursing home or a care facility of some kind. This is always sad to see, but just about every month in the United States there is an article in the news about some nursing home abuse. The different cultures of the United States and Japan are so wildly different that the health care system reforms that the united states has put into place may just bring the elderly back into the family unit but that us another subject. The Level of care and the accepted standards of each culture is almost completely polar opposite.
How Japan cares for the elderly in a family unit and the United States depends on its own healthcare system, retirement homes and nursing homes or even extended care facilities, to reliably take care of their elderly. The level of respect for the elderly is provided in Japan has my attention and I wonder if there is some way to turn the United States people around to that way of thinking? REFERENCES SO Long, & PB Harris. (2000). Gender and elder care: social change and the role of the caregiver in Japan. Social Science Japan Journal, 3(1), 21. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 407135091).