Our research is based on the basic and applied social and human sciences to address various issues regarding the advanced aging in Japanese society. In 2016, the proportion of people aged 65 years or older in Japan constituted 27% of the total population. At present, Japan is a "super-aged" society. Therefore, it becomes critical to promote productive and healthy aging not only to improve and maintain an acceptable quality of life but also to sustain the social security system. The family structure has dramatically changed during recent years in Japan. The nuclear family no longer predominates among older households, which has resulted in a weakened family function. Statistics show that older people wish to continue their lives in their own homes or at least within their communities for as long as possible, even if they face major difficulties in performing normal daily activities. Thus, how to facilitate aging in place becomes an increasingly important issue. We are expected to address this issue by establishing a comprehensive care system to be implemented within communities. However, we face many unsolved problems such as housing, provisions for in-home health care and long-term care, shortage of care professionals, and a lack of collaboration among other important factors in multi-sectors.
The need for better life and health in later life varies from one person to another. However, productive aging, healthy aging, and aging in place are the top needs for the demographic transition. Social and human sciences of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology includes three major research teams addressing eight themes, all working to contribute to realizing solutions to these problems. Each research team has already set the five-year medium-term goals (2018-2021) and have devised their own ways to achieve them, which is the basis of our present research. Additionally, we have five ongoing, large-scale longitudinal studies on aging and health. Based on the results of these studies, we are conducting cutting-edge researches in gerontology. The research teams comprise 12-14 faculty members from different disciplines, such as medicine, exercise and nutrition, psychology, rehabilitation, nursing, and brain and cognitive sciences. This range of talent and knowledge will enable a strong multidisciplinary approach to assist the Japanese society to meet one of its greatest challenges.