Symposium 4 «Abstract»
“A Happy Community through The Support System for Keeping Companion Animals — Building a warm and lively community through living with animal companions.”
Date: Mon. 20th July 14:00~17:00
Venue: Convention Hall
Organiser: Japanese Animal Hospital Association／Public Interest Incorporated Association Knots
Purpose: There is now the possibility that a warm-hearted society where the elderly, children, and companion animals live together happily and where “Living with companion animals” is actively incorporated into local communities could be a great answer to pressing social issues, such as an increasing number of single-member households and a rapidly aging population, and could lead to the building of a new, happier social structure. It is possible that such a structure would also create new businesses and jobs. We would like to consider a model of the Support System for Keeping Companion Animals that would assist this lively new social structure.
At last year’s ICAC KOBE 2014 Symposium 4, we discussed ‘A Society That Can Stay Together With Companion Animals’ in a future where our population will be 40% elderly and 37% single-member households. From that, we now know that elderly people living with companion animals feel, more strongly than younger generations, such effects as retaining their health and increasing chances for communication with other community members. In Kobe City, 36.4% of companion animals in the animal control center are brought in because of their owner’s death or hospitalization (1:3) and 75% of those owners wind up going back to empty homes after release from the hospital. We also have data showing that because of such uneasiness about the animals’ situation, many elderly people (or those who will enter that category in the near future) would consider giving up keeping companion animals altogether. A society where no one has to give up keeping companion animals is a society that eliminates a worry of the elderly and creates something positive to look forward to in entering the silver years. Our dedicated discussion culminated in the proposal that it would be great if ‘Living with Companion Animals’ could be a part of an ‘Integrated Community Care System’.
In this session, we will consider ‘a model of the Support System for Keeping Companion Animals’ which would bring ‘the life with companion animals’ into the community, as shown in the chart below. By building ‘a warm and lively local community where the elders, children, companion animals all live together in happiness’, the elders would become more independent and it would create a function for watching over both the elderly and children. In Kobe, a girl who wanted to care for cats was killed. A community like the one in this model would make it possible to build a warm and calm, safe and secure environment.
Thinking historically, dogs (over 15,000 years ago) and cats (over 5000 years ago) were chosen by humans as companion animals and have since worked to keep us and our property safe. Considering our history of co-existence, this would become a new style of protecting our safety. The government curriculum guidelines say that children should learn the importance of life through the existence of other species and this model would support such educational programs for children.
Plus, it is possible this model would also create new projects, businesses and jobs and provide a vision of a future society that is warm and lively.
“The Basic Direction of Current Status of Population Aging and Care Insurance System in Japan”
Tadahisa KAKEGAMI (Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, Kanto-Shinetsu Area Public Welfare Agency)
1. Rapidly aging population and a sharp increase of care insurance in Japan
At the present day, the population in Japan have been declining after peaking in 2004, but elderly population, 65-year-old and above, have been steadily increasing. An increased elderly population in demographic structure is expected to continue, especially 75-year-old and above. For this reason, we created care insurance system in 2000 and offered a certain amount of elderly care services. However, the numbers of the user is increasing and the office for elderly care services is also increasing. When we started the care insurance system, the numbers of people in need of nursing care was about 250 million, and it was exceeded 500 million in 2014. The numbers of ambulatory care businesses is triple and the users of special nursing home is increased more than 20 million.
2. New way of responding to elderly people
In keeping with the situation, in the future, a community inclusive care system will be needed, in which each and every elderly person lives more alive and longer in their home town. For this reason, we changed a law of care insurance, and a comprehensive business is newly established in a community support business. The comprehensive business pursue an efficient and effective support for elderly in need of support services, in which municipal communities play a central role with citizens and other agents to enhance various services based on the situation in each area. In the future, it is important that the business is developed in all over the country. Toward the implementation, all the country, the local governments, and the business operators need to work together.
3. Development of services corresponding to the needs of elderly people
Offering these services, business operators are desired to make all kinds of efforts. At the moment, many services are offered at the business institutions, such as growing house plants and keeping pets. At some special elderly nursing home of unit type, people can bring their own pets when they are placed in a nursing home. Baby boomer generation become the late elderly in 2025. The business operators are desired further development of the services corresponding the needs of users.
“The Role of Animal Hospitals in local activities”
As the perception of pet animals changes from “a family member” to “a member of the society”, the role expected of animal hospitals is also changing. We must take part in local efforts dealing with problems concerning the aging society and increase of single living people.
One approach to such problems is to promote the reconstruction of local communities and the introduction of comprehensive community care of dementia patients. Pet animals, especially dogs and cats may become a key factor.
Since 1986, JAHA has been practicing Companion Animal Partnership Program, where member volunteers and animal hospital staff visit schools, nursing homes and hospitals with their pet animals. Our program manual may be used to fit local needs. Activities using pet animals to encourage social interaction between single living senior residents and the young, or hospital held events where children may regularly interact with animals, are examples where our program may be helpful in reconstructing local communities.
“Survey concerning the elderly owners of cats and dogs”
Our association was conducted to continue the “Survey of the owner” also this year. In addition, in Osaka last fall, and, it held a symposium that was in the “breeding help to think of the elderly and pets / elderly owner” a theme in Tokyo on May 30 of this year, involving the elderly and pets and continue to and we are conducting surveys and research on breeding support method to the problem and elderly breeders. To it or elderly effect of how much the health life stretched be involved with pets can be obtained also requires research and verification, animal health care workers involved in the pet, not only pet-related companies, “Regional Comprehensive medical care System” or how to build support in the community, such as“local support center”, “watching in the region” is I think an important point.
“Forever I want happiness and fun life and animals” who the dogs and cats are woven live greeted by family, also when it was the person who has the experience, I think that many people have been so desired. Based on the “reality” of the “super-aged society” and welcomed Japan’s social environment that now one or more persons 65 years of age or older to four people, and suffer the elderly breeders coming visible through the exchange of opinions or the like in the awareness survey and symposiums anxiety are, what you are being asked to society, support method necessary, and we will be announced and discussed what should we be.
“Toward the realization of future happiness for pets and human through “the Super Insurance”
“Super Insurance” is able to coordinate customer’s necessary protections to one insurance. It is an integrated insurance of life insurance and general insurance, released from June 2002. With a concept of giving ample protection to customers and their family from various risks, we have a fulfilling lineup of protections regarding automobile, housing, health, and the rest. Also, we accept as a family unit, and freely design a compensation for customer’s life plan and their family structures through consulting.
In addition, “Super Insurance” has a support service called “Super Insurance Assist”, which protects customers not only when they are in accidents but also in their daily lives. In “Super Insurance Assist”, based on the compensation, you can use “roadside assistance”, helpful in case of car trouble, “water leak & house unlock assistance”, helpful in case of housing troubles, “medical assistance”, providing consultation about medical treatment, and others.
As a new lineup of “Super Insurance Assist”, we have a “pet medical consultation service” from January 2012. This service is for the customers who signed up with the general insurance of “Super Insurance”. It is including: 1) medical consultation regarding pets, 2) consultation about living with pets (such as training and feeding), 3) providing second opinion and information of advanced medical agency 4) providing a neighborhood pet clinic guide. In the services, veterinarians answer the phone 24 hours a day, every day.
We have always had customers’ demands, “I want to care my pets as a family member”. It has a high affinity for the concept of “Super Insurance”, which is to protect whole family. Ever since providing the service, it is used by many customers.
Fortunately, about 180 million households signed up “Super Insurance”. Toward the realization of future happiness for pets and human, we would like to support through “Super Insurance”.
“Towards an ‘Always Together’ Society —the Approach from a Business Perspective”
In Kobe city, we aim for the city development for harmonious coexistence of humans and pets. We are working on implementation of rabies control, enlightenment of dog and cat training, health consultation of pets, consultation of pet training, public awareness activities of cat sterilization, management of community cats, promotion of dog and cat adoption, and public awareness of animal welfare through animal petting classes.
Having a pet can cause some difficulties such as feeding, walking, coping with a disease, and all. However, as the population ages, it is said that a pet gives many positive effects to people. For example, walking with a pet is able to maintain and improve one’s health, and pets are able to encourage communication between people.
On the other hand, owner’s responsibility is written on the “Act on Welfare and Management of Animals”, that is “owners have to keep their animals until they die”. However, if the owner is an elderly living alone, taking care of a pet can be difficult in a situation of hospital admission. For this reason, they need to find someone taking care of their pets and a place to talk about their pets when a need arises. In Kobe city, if there is a situation like this, we give an advice to use an internet bulletin board and look for a supporter.
As the population ages, it is thought that people’s needs of keeping pets after discharge from a hospital may increase. In a time like this, without relying on a new owner, elderlies can keep pets with ease if there is a productive support system, in which private associations temporarily take care of pets.
Today, we still provide consultation about pets for elderlies either directory or through a case worker. However, if there is such support system, we can play a role as a coordinator and exchange information with private associations since morning.
From here on, I wish the city development for harmonious coexistence of elderlies and pets is progressed under a cooperation of government and people.
“A Step with Home Visits to Caring and Inclusive Community”
Community care means providing support so that people can achieve maximum independence and control over their own lives. To do so, people mainly need both social services and health services. As an essential social service lies the home visit system.
It is essential because it can clearfy the needs of individuals thus leading to case management of them. It enables to identify the risks of local communities such as poverty, malhousing, crimes, injustice and so on. It even identifies the most vulnerable who are often excluded from the society and its systems.
Home visit services did exist before the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake in 1995. They expanded drastically after the disaster as a part of the reconstruction policies.
Elderly citizens who lost their houses and had to relocate themselves found this social service supportive and indispensable in both rebuilding their own lives and their new community. Now it has developed quite fully in variation and target groups, playing a vital role in building an inclusive community.