09/01/2020 by californiacaregivers
Japan has the world’s oldest population. Yet it dodged a coronavirus crisis at elder-care facilities
“ICHIKAWA, Japan — Ninety-one-year-old Hiroko Tsukamoto washes her hands seven times a day and disinfects them before every meal.
She watches the news attentively, tracking every twist and turn of Japan’s battle against the novel coronavirus.
“I can’t wait for all of this to be over. The sooner the better,” said Tsukamoto, who moved into a residential care home just outside Tokyo a month ago.
Japan has the world’s oldest population, with an average age of 47 and a life expectancy of more than 81 years. More than 28 percent of its residents are over the age of 65, ahead of Italy in second place with 23 percent, and compared with 16 percent of Americans.
It could have been sitting on a coronavirus disaster, with the pandemic hitting seniors particularly hard, especially those in group facilities.
But Japan has recorded 1,225 deaths from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, compared with about 180,000 in the United States. In Japan, 14 percent of the deaths have been in elder-care facilities. That is compared with more than 40 percent in the United States, despite a lower proportion of U.S. seniors living in nursing homes.
Fewer than 1 percent of Americans live in nursing facilities, compared with 1.7 percent in Japan. “