“They talk to people such as someone that they run into while out for a walk, new neighborhood friends, participants and staff members for health care programs. Their conversations are not purposeful ones but rather noncommittal ones such as talking about weathers and pets. Those conversations make them feel better and avoid the situation in that they have nobody to talk to.”Yoshiko Kudo & Kazuko Saeki
Graduate School of Health Sciences, Hokkaido University
Issues explored: aging in place, social isolation
"In context, they tried to make themselves feel better through talking to people in new surroundings in order to cope with a sense of loneliness. They talk to people such as someone that they run into while out for a walk, new neighborhood friends, participants and staff members for health care programs. Their conversations are not purposeful ones but rather noncommittal ones such as talking about weathers and pets. Those conversations make them feel better and avoid the situation in that they have nobody to talk to. For instance, one of them commented, 'It’s hard when I get older. I feel lonely. I feel very appreciative that I got some friends. I feel better when I talk with them.'"
“In the subcategory 'to enjoy being with people', some women who live with their families commonly emphasized joining the senior people’s club and the block associations. Here are some comments for example,
“I attend the senior people’s club. I expressed that I would pay for the membership fee. At first, I was not sure, but I thought I can make some friends and I would feel lonely if I didn’t attend at all. I will attend the block association’s new year event and the general meeting for the next month.”
“I was able to make some friends while having a meal and attending a rice-cake pounding event at the block association. Some young people invited me in a good manner and talked to me. Since they are all nice people, I was able to enjoy and grow accustomed to.”
They intended “to periodically meet someone of their age” and “to create opportunities to make more friends” through going to places where people gather, and they went out to have meals and attend a rice-cake pounding event and seasonal events “to enjoy being with people”.
Other Sapporo stories and resources:
Japan’s high life expectancy and low birth rate mean it leads the world in the highest proportion of older people, in four of its cities (with a total population of one million or more), over 30% of the population is aged 65 or older. Sapporo, Japan, the city with the second-highest proportion of those aged 65 and older, has seen a huge growth in its older population in the past two decades – in 2000 the demographic made up less than one-fifth of the population; in 2019 (the most recent data available), they made up 32%. In the same time period, Sapporo's population aged under 15 has decreased by three percentage points.