Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elderly in the Wake of the Quake

The ticker tape of the names of the deceased glided eerily
effortlessly across the television screen after the massive tidal wave
hit Japan’s northeastern seaboard. The ages following the names reveal
a common demographic trend in Japan. High school graduates have left
the rural regions for college and work in Tokyo for decades now,
leaving the aged people in many cases to fend for themselves.
According to John Knight, 41 percent of farmers in Japan now are over

Various services have appeared in the wake of these annual migrations
including daily service centers where the elderly can go to bath and
eat. But the destructive power of the wave has caused power outages
or the purposeful shutting down of power plants and, as a consequence,
such centers have been closed. Footage of one such service center in
Aomori prefecture, showed unused bathing equipment and empty dining
chairs. With shutdowns of local power plants, these service centers
for the elderly, now without heat and power, are unable to run.
Traditionally, three generations had lived under one roof, but now it
is not uncommon to find many of these elderly people living alone so
one wonders where they will find these services.

We’re all in this together.