Homecare: the example of Japan

  • Japan (Tokyo)
  • Homecare
  • 25 delegates
  • May 2023
From 12 to 20 May 2023, our delegation of 25 French leaders of homecare organisations visited Tokyo as part of an international study mission on homecare in Japan. The aim of this initiative, organised in close cooperation with FEDESAP, was to find out how home care provision is structured in Japan and to study the integrated multiservice platforms that help elderly people to remain at home.
Le Japon est confronté à un double défi en raison de son vieillissement démographique : le nombre croissant de personnes âgées et la baisse de la population active dans le domaine des soins. Le développement des services d'aide à domicile est donc une priorité nationale qui offre des opportunités aux grands groupes multiservices, notamment dans le secteur du grand âge et de la petite enfance.

Japan is facing a dual challenge as a result of its ageing population: a growing number of elderly people and a shrinking workforce in the care sector. The development of home help services is therefore a national priority, offering opportunities for major multiservice groups, particularly in the elderly and early childhood sectors.

On Monday 15 May, the delegates had the opportunity to meet representatives of the French embassy to discuss the cultural context, initiatives and Franco-Japanese partnerships in the homecare sector. In the afternoon, they visited Saint-Care Holding Corporation, a company specialising in care services for dependent people. Founded in 1983, the company offers a range of services including home care, retirement homes, serviced flat rental and assistance with household chores. Then they discovered Tokushimaru, an innovative company offering a mobile sales service for the elderly. The company uses a light truck loaded with around 1,200 items, including 400 items of perishable food and daily necessities, which it sells in residential areas.

The following day, the delegation travelled to Fujisawa, in Kanagawa prefecture, to discover Aoi care. This organisation offers day-care facilities for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's disease, which are open to the outside world and intergenerational. Daily activities, such as cooking, entertainment and shopping, are shared between residents and local residents. This small-scale day care model offers long-term care in the home, with a flexible care plan. In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Shonan Robo Care Center, a centre that uses robotics technology developed by CYBERDYNE to create an environment where people and technology support each other. The use of robots in the care of the elderly helps to make up for staff shortages and promote the independence of the elderly.

On Thursday 18 May, the delegation visited the Santafe Garden Hills (Zenkoukai Group), a nursing home for the elderly offering a wide range of services, including home help. The Zenkoukai group is at the forefront of the use of care robots developed in its nursing robot laboratory. The aim of this laboratory is to remedy the shortage of staff in nursing homes, relieve the burden on the families of the elderly and promote autonomous nursing services. On Thursday afternoon, the delegation visited a retirement home belonging to the Med Agricare group. Designed by renowned architects, the wooden architecture of the Med Agricare group's establishments offers residents a serene living environment close to nature.

On the final day of the programme, the delegation visited a supermarket in Setagaya, where they were able to observe one of Tokushimaru's sales rounds. Finally, the delegation visited Tokyo Metropolitan, where they were given an overview of health and welfare policies for the disabled and elderly, as well as efforts to promote health and subsidise medical costs.

The discoveries made in Japan were a source of inspiration and will enable participants to return home with new ideas. The Japanese example of home care offers interesting perspectives for French organisations wishing to improve their services and better meet the needs of the elderly.
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