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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume IV, Wellbeing in Later Life by Cary L. Cooper, Thomas B. L. Kirkwood

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16

Wellbeing in the Oldest Old and Centenarians in Japan

Yasuyuki Gondo

Osaka University, Japan

Yasumichi Arai and Nobuyoshi Hirose

Keio University School of Medicine, Japan

Introduction

One of the most striking features of modern society is the steady increase in life expectancy, accompanied by the rapid growth of the oldest-old population, defined as those 85 years or older (Oeppen & Vaupel, 2002). In Japan, where female life expectancy at birth reached 86 years in 2007, the number of the oldest old surpassed 2.4 million, or about 3.0% of the total population in 2010, a more than 300% increase since 1990. Although extension of life expectancy is considered to be one of the major achievements of civilization in developed countries, the current demographic change has raised a new concern of how best to live a very long life, because the oldest old are vulnerable to age-related disabilities and functional limitation, and are at a high risk of losing their independence and reduced quality of life. The percentage of the population who are beneficiaries of long-term care insurance increases with age: for women, 2.0% aged 65–69 are beneficiaries, 4.6% aged 70–74, 11.8% aged 75–79, 26.4% aged 80–84, 46.6% aged 85–90, 66.0% aged 90–94, and 80.9% aged 95 or more, whereas for men it is 2.4% aged 65–69, 4.5% aged 70–74, 8.8% aged 75–79, 17.1% aged 80–84, 30.4% aged 85–90, 48.5% age 90–94, and 66.19% aged 95 and more in 2011 (Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, 2013). To maintain health ...

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