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A Trend in Services for Senior Citizens
As the senior population grows, the number of senior citizens who are certified as needing long-term care has increased, making the establishment of an integrated community care system an urgent task. Due to constantly increasing costs of the long-term care insurance system, the government has been trying to make long-term care services more focused and efficient in order to improve sustainability of the system. It is possible, therefore, that the services covered by insurance will become more limited for people with modest care needs, who constitute more than half of those certified as needing care. Moreover, the services covered by the insurance are designed to be limited for fiscal reasons, and the policy aim of providing these services is to maintain the dignity of those who receive care and to support their independence. This limitation makes it difficult to provide services that are tailored to the lifestyle of senior citizens and their families.
In this context, attention is being paid to non-covered care services, that is, services for senior citizens that are independent of the long-term care insurance system. Since non-covered services are not subject to the limitations imposed by the insurance system, such services can be more convenient for users and can provide opportunities for service providers to develop new, growing businesses that are less likely to be affected by regulatory change. The national government also supports such businesses.
The non-covered services are wide-ranging and are designed for many aspects of the users’ lives. In discussing examples from the market, this paper considers four areas: (1) housework support, (2) food delivery, (3) physical fitness, and (4) housing. Also discussed is the case of Tokyu Land Corporation, which has been trying to create a private-sector integrated community care system by managing the senior residence Gran Creer and by providing services for local community residents (Home Creer) based on the know-how gained from managing Gran Creer. Considering the company’s activities, this paper examines the feasibility of integrated community care services by private businesses that focus on non-covered services.