By Michael Harrison
Medical Center Public Relations
For two weeks in August, 21 health care professionals from Japan were on campus finding out about University training opportunities in geriatrics and gerontology.
Japan’s population is aging faster than that of any other country because of declining birth rates and longer life spans. Japanese life expectancy is now the highest in the world—76 years for males and 82 for females.
By 2025, Japan is projected to have one of the world’s oldest populations, with 23 percent of its people over the age of 65. The challenge facing Japan’s health care community is providing public and private services needed to care for the elderly.
The physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, home health aides and other health care professionals were here under the auspices of the U.S.-Japan Training Institute in Geriatric Care. The partnership was established last fall between the U-M’s Geriatrics Center and the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare to also foster an exchange of Japanese ideas and programs that might be adapted in the United States, and will help forge future cooperation between the two countries in care of the elderly.
The institute provides an interdisciplinary approach to patient care by incorporating faculty from the Geriatrics Center, the Institute of Gerontology, the Medical School and the Schools of Social Work, Nursing and Public Health.
Topics covered during the two-week visit included health and social services, geriatric assessment, dementia and rehabilitation.
Ruth Campbell, associate director for social work and community services for the Geriatrics Center, coordinated the visitors’ program.
The program was sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare in collaboration with Tanabe Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan.